Thursday, 11 August 2011

The gift of hospitality


Bonnie's topic this week is The gift of hospitality'. She features Tammy Maltby, author of The Lifegiving Woman, who says: Your hospitality shouldn’t look like anyone else’s. Hospitality really means loving others with your life...hospitality is a message you give others about their value. It is not about impressing someone but rather providing comfort and care. It is about loving others with...
Your cracked dishes
• Your dramatic flair
• Your dinky apartment
• Your fabulous chili
• Your shyness and introversion
• Your soft spot for teenagers or senior citizens or singles or college students
• Your organizational challenges
• Your impossible schedule
• Your grubby kitchen floor
• Your Oriental rugs
• Your geriatric poodle and overly affectionate cats
• Your knack for decorating
• Your offbeat sense of humor
• Your tendency to run late
• Your perfectionist tendencies
• Your late paycheck
• Your unruly toddlers or sullen teens…or empty nest

Oh yes, I totally agree. Hospitality is about creating a welcoming place for others in my life.
Hospitality means...
taking time to notice when I need to 'invite someone in' to my life
offering my limited listening skills
putting my own agenda aside
opening up my heart
making myself vulnerable
holding the door wide open.

Yet hospitality is also about...
taking time to invite someone to share food
offering up my finances to take a friend out to coffee
putting my need to write aside
opening up my home
making myself vulnerable with a home that is not perfect
holding the door wide open.

Yes, I thought Tammy's post inspiring. So I looked up her blog... and then her wise words of 'Everything you are—your personality, your resources, your circumstances, your talents and spiritual gifts, even your particular failings and challenges—can be used by God to do his kingdom work of hospitality.' flew out the window. She is awesome - no surprise that she is so successful at hospitality! Feeling totally inadequate by comparison, I wondered how on earth I really COULD be as hospitable as her.

I find it really quite hard to believe that my sunk-in-the-middle cakes, second-hand furniture, chipped china and inability to 'pretty up' a table can actually help make others feel at home in my life. Yet I need to remember that hospitality is not about me.

However good a cook I might, or might not be, however beautiful - or not - my home, it's not about putting on a good performance. It's about putting others first. Heard that somewhere before? As it says in Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

So yes, I can enjoy putting on a breakfast. Or having people to stay for weeks on end, as I have just done - the house has seen more cooking, cleaning and washing of bed linen than it has done for months.

But in the end, it's not about me. Just about offering what I have to Jesus, letting him use it for his glory. I hope.


highheartedly said...

Not only is it not about me, it's not about comparing either, is it?
You did much.
We always discount what we do, or don't see it as gift when we compare with another's "better."
God loves you!
Thanks for writing.

Dawn said...

It is when we are weak that HE is strong. Loving people is what is most important, even if it is with chipped china and fallen in the middle cakes:)
Blessings to you!

Lisa notes... said...

I appreciate your honesty here. Being hospitable doesn't come naturally to me either but I am trying to get better out of a love for Jesus and love for others. One step at a time...

Kristine said...

"Hospitality means...
taking time to notice when I need to 'invite someone in' to my life
offering my limited listening skills
putting my own agenda aside
opening up my heart
making myself vulnerable
holding the door wide open."

Well said. And I'd love to have some of your sunken in the middle cake or sit on your second hand furniture. Sounds like home to me. :)

Glynn said...

I think hospitality comes down to two things, which you've captured here -- acceptance, which means so much to strangers, outsiders, people who don't know you, and listening, hearing them tell their stories. Good post.

vidzee said...

Interesting website. Keep blogging!

Bonnie Gray said...

Mama Mpira - I would love to come over and just hang out with *you*, not your cake, furniture or dishes! :) That list you created and shared with us -- now that is a heart of hospitality. That is the HARDEST thing to come by and you are serving it up. Tammy is great, but she is Tammy. And you are *you* - who we enjoy very much! :)

Mama Mpira said...

Thank you for all your comments! Yes,our life is not about comparing...which is a frequent attack on our integrity and identity in Christ for many of us, I suspect.
Hebrews 12:2 has long been of great encouragement to me: Fix your eyes upon JESUS (not on anyone else), the AUTHOR and perfecter of our faith...