This program is designed to celebrate the gift of hospitality. It is divided into three parts: Discussion, Devotion, Prayer. The discussion part guides the women to conversation about their experiences, the stress that opening one’s home can bring and the joys of hospitality. The devotion presents Christ as the One pursuing and wanting to extend hospitality to us. The prayer time should guide the women to accept Christ’s offer of paying a visit to them during their time alone with God.
Ask the women to answer the following questions and drop their answers into a basket. Pull out the answers and discuss them. Some answers will be funny, but they will be a very close representation of how each person feels about hospitality. (Take about 20–30 minutes in this discussion time.)
- If Jesus tells you He will come visit your home at 3:00 p.m. today, what would be the first thing you would do?
- If you were to plan an afternoon of activities for Jesus and you, what would you plan?
- What is your most embarrassing story about your family or friends coming over to visit you?
- Do you think you are a hospitable person? If yes, Why? If not, Why not?
Read Luke 10:38-42, the story of Mary and Martha, and share your answers to the following questions:
- Which one of the two women was practicing hospitality?
- Which of these two women are you most like?
- Why did Jesus think Mary chose the best part?
Martha was busy with preparations for Jesus and the other guests, but she was being whiny and complaining about it. It seems like all the joy of sharing a meal with Jesus was stolen by her busyness. She might have been a little tired of doing all the housework. Has this ever happened to you when you had guests over? (Share your experience.)
Lead the women into a personal prayer time. To help each person center their thoughts, have adult coloring pages, crayons, coloring pencils and markers available. Play soft instrumental music and guide the women to ask the Lord to help them understand how He would like to practice hospitality in their lives.
(Printable adult coloring pages with appropriate Bible verses can be found on Pinterest, Bing, or Google. They are also very inexpensive at Walmart and sometimes the Dollar General Stores. Make sure to also provide blank pieces of paper for some of the women who would like to be creative and draw their own art.)
Hospitality and Our Lord
Every gift and ability we have comes from the Giver of Gifts, our Lord. This means that hospitality has its roots in God. We can be hospitable, because we are made in His image. The fact that hospitality has its roots in the Lord means that He practices hospitality with us.
When we think of hospitality, we think of something we give to others. But hospitality is more than setting tables and serving meals. It is a practice of giving and receiving. Let’s take the next few minutes to think about hospitality in the context of our relationship with Christ and this concept of giving and receiving.
There are two main components of hospitality: vulnerability and mutuality. When it comes to spending time with Christ it is necessary that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable means to present ourselves before Christ as women who are in desperate need of special care and protection. In the last 60 years society has pressed women to show themselves as self–sufficient and independent. But the truth is that standing before Christ we need to come clean with Him, open our hearts and be willing to admit to our loving Father that we are in need. When we do that, when we show ourselves vulnerable at the doorstep of heaven, Christ opens the door for us and invites us into a sweet fellowship with Him. He provides the refreshment for our soul and shelter for our weary feet and hands. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” (Matt. 11:28).
When we present ourselves before Him, His response is to show us mutuality. While helping a corps teenager with homework, I recently learned that in biology terms, mutuality happens when two different species come together and exist in a relationship. That is exactly how it is with Christ and us. We are not the same. We are women. He is God. But in His immense love, Christ invites us into a mutually beneficial relationship in which although we are different we can engage in true fellowship. I have nothing He needs, He has everything I need and under that reality He invites: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20, NIV).
Would you be willing to be vulnerable before Christ? Would you be willing to accept His invitation and come into a mutually beneficial relationship with Him? He is the One who knows who you truly are and still loves you more than life. Come in, visit with the Savior, be His guest, sit at His feet and receive from Him refreshment for your soul.
Close in prayer or use the following excerpt from “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies” poem by Charles Wesley. You can also find videos of this song on YouTube.
Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, and only light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise!
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Day–spring from on high, be near!
Day–star, in my heart appear!
Visit, then, this soul of mine;
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, radiant Son divine;
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.”