Friday, December 2, 2011

Pursuing Hospitality: Next Five Principles

Here are the next five principles for hospitality. For the first five you can see this post.

Sixth, practice makes perfect. Your first attempts at hospitality can be awkward. The food may not turn out. The conversation may fall flat. You might forget obvious things. But like anything, you will get better with practice. As you have more people over and different types of people, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. You will learn what you can handle and what you cannot handle. You will find ways to start conversations and direct them. You will learn how to make your guests feel comfortable. Hospitality, like most things, becomes easier the more you do it.

Seventh, if you have children, include them in the preparation. Let them cook. Let them get out special toys for their guest. Our boys have made name plates for each guest coming. Help them to see the sacrifices and joys that come with having guests over. This will give your children a vision for hospitality and serving. One word of warning though. Do not make your children work the entire time the guests are there. You enjoy time with the guests. Let them enjoy that time as well.

Eighth, don’t make excuses for not practicing hospitality. Hospitality is hard work. It is a lot easier to find “reasons” not to practice hospitality than it is to do it. You will not practice hospitality if you are not convinced that it is absolutely essential to your Christian life and witness. As I said earlier, we all are at different phases in our lives and this can limit what we can do. However, there is rarely a reason to never practice hospitality.

Ninth, don’t grumble as you practice hospitality. I Peter 4:9 tells us to practice hospitality without grumbling. Peter is reminding us that it is a great temptation to grumble before or after we invite people into our home. We complain as we get ready for our guests. We complain when our guests leave without a thank you. We grumble about the problems our guests bring into our home. Peter says, “Don’t grumble.” We must cheerfully do our duty.

Finally, don’t judge other people’s hospitality. At a hospitable church, it is easy to start giving sideways glances. We begin to wonder why one family rarely invites anyone over. Or maybe we wonder why another family seems to have everybody over all the time. We wonder why they have three children and we have three children, but they never invite families over and we always do. Jealousy, envy, and pride are constant temptations when we start to obey the commands of Scripture. Tend your own garden. Stop worrying about the garden across town.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8