Is that the problem? Who to invite?
It could be. It could be the number one issue. “Lord, I want to be hospitable. I want Your welcoming heart. But who do You want me to welcome?”
My mom hosted missionaries and preachers, whole singing groups from my college, whole families who needed beds for a year while they remodeled. A family’s trailer parked out back for a year (or two) — yard hospitality at its best. A single policewoman. And strangers stopping by inquiring about any future sale of their home. (“Oh, hello. You want to buy our house someday? That could work. Why don’t you come inside for some tea and we’ll talk about it.” That couple became fast friends and started coming to my folks’ church. Last March when Daddy went to Glory, they bought the house. But that’s another story. A good one. One of the greats. But for another time. “Entertaining angels unaware” comes to mind.)
We’ve hosted our kids and their soccer teams and their teachers and their friends (and their friends’ friends…)
. . . and patients and customers and neighbors and newcomers and single women. Lots of single women. They need a family. I know. I was a single woman for longer than most.
Are you waiting for the perfect guest? I’ve got one for you–the next person you meet.
I’m serious. Hospitality means: “entertaining strangers.” The next person you meet might be a stranger. A stranger who may be a little strange. It happens. Often for a reason.
If in doubt, check out who Jesus hung out with:
Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?”
Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” Luke 5:29-32 The Message
I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders–an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.
I love Tim Chester’s words in A Meal with Jesus:
“The Pharisees are asking Jesus to behave like a doctor who avoids sick people. Such a doctor clearly couldn’t do his work. Jesus the Savior can’t do His work unless He’s with sinful people. . . we can’t do our work of pointing sinners to the Saviour unless we spend time with them.”
Mark told me once that I didn’t need to invite the whole world. (His words.) He was right. But I do need to invite.
How’s your guest list coming? Clearly we can’t do the work unless we make the list and start inviting.
Mary’s home now, and with her, her friends–all just back from their first year of college life. Last night we enjoyed Sequoia from Cuesta and Rheannon from Sonoma State and Carolyn from Boston University, all home for the summer and at home here. They rarely knock. Blessings all around.
“Chocolate on Mondays” is coming soon. Send me your hospitality stories. We need the encouragement and the courage to offer our tables for Jesus’ sake. Check out the intro story here.