Friday, October 26, 2007

The Ministry of Hospitality

From Open Hearts, Open Home:

"I have discovered that even an innate inclination to hospitality must be honed and refined, imbrued and filled if it is to be more than concern about centerpieces, menus, table settings, and spotless rooms.

For Christians, hospitality is a marvelous gift of the Holy Spirit given so that we may minister to this dying society. If our hospitality is to minister, to impart to each who crosses our threshold something of the presence of Christ--if it is to transcend the human and deal in the supernatural--there must be an agony of growth, a learning, a tutoring hand of the Holy Spirit. For some, hospitality is as natural as breathing. For others, the practice must be acquired. For all, it must be nurtured."
When we ditch the Martha Stewart, TLC, keep-up-with-the-trends sort of housekeeping and entertaining model, and instead begin to think of hospitality in terms of serving and loving others, and creating an atmosphere where Christ can be clearly seen as supremely valuable (to borrow a phrase from John Piper, in his "Don't Waste Your Life" sermon), it becomes much less pretentious and overwhelming. Don't you think?

At the same time, it presents an even deeper and difficult responsibility on our part, to have homes that are welcoming, content, and simple yet challenging, just as Christ Himself was. Having an inviting and open home is something we can do in direct obedience to the Word of God (Matthew 25 and Hebrews 13), as a ministry of significance and value, regardless of what "stage" of life we're in. As women, we want our homes to look lovely and inviting, and it can be embarrassing when things are a royal mess... and yet, we must not let this goal of tidiness or presentation become an idol that takes priority over this basic welcoming spirit we're to have in the name of Jesus Christ.

I'm learning some new things about hospitality, and hope these things I'm learning might challenge and encourage you, too.

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