Sep 16, 2016

Are You Inventive in Hospitality?

     Several years ago my family came across an absolute treasure of a find - my great grandmother's journals. I never had the pleasure of knowing my great grandmother so it's been a joy to read these journals and have a glimpse into her life.
     One thing that has stood out to me while reading her journals is how different communities were back then. There's not a day that goes by that she was not visiting someone, having someone over, baking a cake for a family, going to a women's club, etc. She gave herself to hospitality. She knew what it meant to gather with others, to love on them, care about them and take the time to listen to them.
     I can't help but think that our society has really lost a lot of that. We've gotten so busy and distracted that we fail to notice the people around us. In a society that's "in touch" more than ever, we are so out of touch with each other.
     You probably know that the Bible says we are to be given to hospitality (Romans 12:13). I really like the way the Message puts it - "Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality." Be inventive in hospitality. Notice it doesn't say be perfect in hospitality. That's a good thing for me because I can get caught up in what hospitality looks like. You know, is my house clean enough (never), can I make the perfect meal (uncontrollable laughter), will I say all the right things (nope, I still put my foot in my mouth several times a day). It's not about the perfection, it's just about gathering. Being inventive in hospitality means I need to be purposeful about it. I need to mark time on my calendar, I need to offer the invitation, and then, when we do gather, I need to be present, I need to listen, I need to laugh (and possibly cry) with my friends, I need to hug their necks (or give high fives if they're not physical touch people). The point for me is that I just need to do it. I don't believe people are on Facebook (or Fakebook as I like to call it) several times a day because that's their first choice. I think they're on FB so much because they're hungry for relationships, striving to connect, needing interaction.
     How can we be more inventive in hospitality? How can we gather more? Maybe meet a friend for lunch or coffee, invite a family over for dinner once a week (just don't get freaked out about everything being perfect), have friends over for a game night, invite your girlfriends to join you for a ladies night out, whatever it takes to gather together - just gather! If you ask me face to face beats facebook every single time. What are some ways that you are inventive in hospitality? Follow my blog for ideas on ways to connect and pre-order Karen Ehman's book  Listen Love Repeat for some great ideas.
     (Pic above is of one of my favorite gatherings - my family reunion held at my dad's church in MI every summer. As you can see, there are a few of us.)