How then does all this apply to hospitality? We must look at hospitality as we would at any other gift. Am I willing to use my home, my sports equipment, and my table settings (or lack of them) in ministry? If so, then I must first ask the Lord to sensitize me to which people need a special touch of love and to help me determine the best form of service. Does sin in my life restrict God’s being able to use this talent in ministry?
Again I must come to that kneeling place and ask the Spirit to search the heart, to make me open to a washing of my soul. Do I continually tell God I am dependent on His supernatural working to transform my talent into a gift of the Holy Spirit?
“Company’s comin’”—O Lord, give me love for these varied people. Help me to have an open heart as well as an open door. Let me not be concerned about how things look or how things taste to the exclusion of how people feel. Help me to give to them You.
Often over the years people have asked, “How do you do it? People are always coming and going in your house.” My neighbors particularly have noticed. They observe the swinging front door and are sometimes inconvenienced in a search for a parking space.
One Catholic friend reported her husband’s comment, “Tom says that anyone who can have people in her home at seven o’clock every Saturday morning must be a saint!” To be perfectly honest, I must admit to some rather un-saintly feelings about that early morning staff meeting, particularly in regard to the one staff member who regularly arrived one half hour early—at six-thirty!
These comments came often enough that I began to pride myself on my excellent management. Then one day the truth hit me—I wasn’t an excellent manager at all! It was the release of the Spirit within me that was enabling me to practice this gift with such ease. The gifts were in operation. I was experiencing “the strength which God supplies!” It was one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, hospitality, which made it so easy to open the front door, again and again; to search through cupboards and discover a forgotten can tucked in a corner; to buy just the right ingredients for a certain unplanned dish; to bring home extra groceries because of a sale, and thus have food handy for those unexpected mouths.
Then I began to understand how the gifts make ministry bearable. Without them, we wear out, burnout, grind out. I thought of all those dear pastors, of exhausted missionaries, worn beyond words, broken in spirit, who had not fully enjoyed the infilling, liberating gift of the Spirit and His con sequent grace to continue the hard work of giving.
Martin Luther knew the meaning of this concept when he penned those words to “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” that great hymn of spiritual warfare. “The Spirit and the gifts are ours,” reads the second verse, “through Him who with us sideth.”
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen 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.
For decades, Karen Mains 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.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
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.