October 2019 – Open Heart, Open Home

October 2019 – Open Heart, Open Home
Always be eager to practice hospitality
Introduction 

Tuesday evening was my favorite night of the week. As I worked around the kitchen, I loved hearing the first knock on the door. Lauren came into the kitchen to sit at the counter and fill me in on her week. Time after time the door opened as the kitchen filled with more voices and laughter. This routine was the same no matter how many came, from two to ten. Someone would pitch in with dinner and another would set out the dishes. We took turns providing dinner and enjoyed everything from waffles to homemade scones, grilled cheese or delivery pizza. We came together to do life with each other and study God’s Word. We celebrated all of life’s victories and cried together over the hard times. These days brought my home to life and created a family for us that marked each of our lives. This group came together out of a need for a place to call home and a hunger for God’s Word. “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).

The dictionary defines hospitality as “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.” Many of us would be quick to say we do not possess the gift of hospitality because of a misconceived notion that it requires a lot of time spent in the kitchen to entertain, but the reality of hospitality is far from “entertaining.” Having an open house and an open heart is all it requires. It is being willing to simply share moments in life together, to open our home to provide a special place to meet and share in moments of encouragement, support, prayer, laughter and study of God’s Word. It’s realizing that we are all human. Our house does not have to be a picture of perfection, but a picture of love. It is providing a welcome and inviting space to share life generously.

Decorations 

Examples:

  • Tea party table—china, cups and saucers and a teapot
  • Casual table—paper plates and plastic silverware
  • Dollar store table—everything on table from table setting to decorations is from the dollar store

The idea is to show that there are a variety of ways the women can create a place of hospitality. It could be a fully decorated tea table, to a table with little jars or candle holders from the dollar store filled with favorite candies or ingredients for a hot chocolate or sundae bar.

Hospitality Starters

Talk about different hospitality ideas:

  • Bible Study—Invite a group over for a Bible study.
  • Play Date—As a busy mother, we know the need for a few moments with other adults. Invite a friend to bring her children over for tea. Let the kids play outside or watch a movie together so the grown–ups can visit.
  • Pantry Surprise—Company is coming and you don’t have time to go to the store. What can you do with what you have? Water infused with a slice of fruit? Crackers and cheese? Cookies on a plate?
  • Movie and Popcorn—Pop some popcorn and set out items that can be added to it, such as pretzels, M&Ms or cereal. Kick back and watch a movie.
  • Meal Preparation—Invite some friends to your home with the purpose of preparing a meal that they will take home for their family. Assign the women to bring various ingredients for the dish. Serve an easy-to-prepare lunch for the women—a salad, frozen quiche or pizza.
  • Tea Party—Invite some friends over for a tea party. A cup of tea and a few treats can lead to lots of fun and fellowship.
Hospitality

I love to watch HGTV and see transformations of old houses into beautiful homes with everything perfectly placed. They look like pictures in a magazine. But think about it. When the TV crew leaves and the family starts living life, it’s hard to keep that perfection. The kids play and leave toys around, dad’s shoes are on the floor by his favorite chair, and the family rushes out in the morning leaving breakfast dishes in the sink. The house will look loved and lived in. Hospitality is not about having the perfect looking house, but inviting someone into your loved and lived in home.

Hospitality is about loving someone and welcoming them into your home to live life with you for a few hours. It’s about opening your heart.  It is as simple as inviting someone who needs a home-cooked meal to come, or having a friend over for tea to catch up on life.

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13)

I know many people who are afraid to open their homes because they don’t want someone to see them as they truly are. (I’ve had these days myself). Hospitality is about being vulnerable and sharing your home for a bit. It’s about the intention to live life with someone and show them God’s love … no matter the status of your breakfast bowl in the sink. Jesus tells us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34, 35).

Love is genuinely caring for someone even when the kitchen is a mess or the floor is cluttered with children’s toys. Love is not worrying what others think about us. Sometimes the greatest moments of God’s love come in everyday moments when we open our hearts and our homes to others. Maybe that person who never had a loving family can see what a parent’s love looks like when interacting with your family. Maybe the individual who stresses over having a perfect clean house can realize that she’s not the only one dealing with the mess. God uses our open hearts and our open house to reconnect with the inner conversations and struggles each of us experiences.

In showing hospitality and sharing life together, we can be a light as God tells us in Matthew 5:14:

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God–colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light–bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep opening your house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”  (The Message)

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