Today I put away my pride when I open my front door and accept those standing there as they are. Consequently, I expect them to accept me as they find me. No compunctions remain about asking for help with the vacuuming, sending a seminarian upstairs to bathe a baby, or giving a pile of potatoes to someone to peel. Visitors may be more than guests in our home. If they like, they may be friends.
Now when we organize a planned evening of dinner and fellowship, my husband asks guests to contribute to the meal. One brings a salad, one a dessert, one an appetizer. It is not important for me to do everything in order for the occasion to be a success. I have four children to raise, a God to know, words to share, and wounds to heal. Because I’ve put away my pride, lovely things occur. People discover they can be hospitable to me. Yes, we can be friends.
One morning this week, I woke and discovered that an overnight guest (who slept on the floor—all beds and mattresses being full) had filled the house with the odor of ham-and- cheese omelets cooking in the kitchen. He discovered the leak under the sink and used the morning to repair it, then stewed the ham-bone with kidney beans and served them with homemade tortillas. How far we’ve come. Years ago it would have been impossible for me to have offered a floor for the night—or stepped aside to be served.
Essential to hospitality is the open heart which results in an open house. These two elements are potential in every Christian, male or female, married or single. Each has a heart the Spirit is seeking to move with the things that move the heart of God. Each of us has a home—be it a small room, a modest apartment, or a mansion—in which we can practice hospitality.
For ten years my husband and I lived in Chicago’s inner city or close to it. We immersed our lives in the needs and problems of its inhabitants Ours is a fractured society much in need of healing. Yet you don’t have to live in the city to come to this conclusion. You need only to pick up the daily newspaper to become aware of the fragmented nature of the world. This is a world that needs a large dose of true hospitality.
May I invite you to return to this blog for the next installment? I intend to continue to share my thoughts on the contrast between “entertaining” and “hospitality.”
Award-winning author Karen Mains continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.