Dear Friends and Members of Shepherd of the Hills,
This is an older article I wrote for you all in 2015. I’m bringing it back out because I think it has become an even more important reality in our post-covid world. In a world that is so fractured into different beliefs, ideologies, and cliques, it is important to remember our role as a church. We are the ones who bring all people together. I believe that this work starts in our homes.
Ordinary Households Show Extraordinary Hospitality
Last week we talked about how God chooses to work through the ordinary things in life to do extraordinary things. Our households are on the proverbial platter this week and here’s what I’m serving! Households are where Jesus meets those who don’t know him. Jesus doesn’t often meet “disconnected” and “unconnected” people where the pastor is or at the church. Jesus, from my brief experience on this globe, tends to meet people where they are at, and most people are blessed to spend that time in a place they call home.
Homes are where we spend the most time with the people God has put closest in our lives…family. The Lord comes to families as they grow and struggle through life together. Our households are where we can show God’s love in some of the most tangible and ordinary ways possible: being good stewards of time, energy and money, saying “I’m sorry” and offering forgiveness when wrongs have been done, going out of our way to celebrate and opening ourselves to great opportunities of hospitality.
It’s this last one I want to talk about a little more in depth. It is in our hospitality that our faith life most fully intersects with a world that doesn’t call on Jesus as Lord. Hospitality is not the same as entertaining people in our homes.
The following differentiation between “hospitality” and “entertaining” was made by Karen Mains in Open Heart, Open Home (Elgin, Ill.: Cook, 1976):
Entertaining says, “I want to impress you with my home, my clever decorating, my cooking.” Hospitality, seeking to minister, says, “This home is a gift from my Master. I use it as He desires.” Hospitality aims to serve.
Entertaining puts things before people. “As soon as I get the house finished, the living room decorated, my housecleaning done—then I will start inviting people. Hospitality puts people first. “No furniture—we’ll eat on the floor.” “The decorating may never get done—you come anyway.” “The house is a mess—but you are friends—come home with us.”
Entertaining subtly declares, “This home is mine, an expression of my personality. Look, please, and admire.” Hospitality whispers, “What is mine is yours.”
The author of Hebrews writes, “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:1-2). Homes are messy places, not because they aren’t clean, but because homes are where people are and people aren’t perfect. We invite one another into our imperfect lives and our messy homes because we are the stewards of our good master’s gifts.
Homes and lives are meant to share. They can be completely ordinary but God has this wonderful habit of taking that which is ordinary and doing eternal, wonderful and extraordinary things through them. After all, we are all members of an extraordinary household! "So, then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” (Eph. 2:19).
In His Peace and Love,