This is day 4 of a 31 day series on hospitality. To find a listing of the other ‘days’, click here.
Before we prepare the house for hospitality, we’re working on the heart issues. Don’t worry, it’s a long series and we’ll get to all the fun stuff!

We talked a little about what hospitality is and what it is not.

We’ve even conceded that we need each other.

But hospitality doesn’t come just because you have a better understanding of what it is.

Hospitality follows closely behind its friend humility.

C.S. Lewis gave the best definition of humility I’ve heard when he said,  “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.

And that may be our biggest barrier to hospitality.

We are so full of ourselves that there’s no room to welcome anyone else.

Our thoughts are so consumed by all the details of our own selfish lives that we’re not even that curious about other people.

Humility takes the stance,  “I don’t know you or understand you but I’m willing to empty my heart just a little of myself and welcome  you in.”

We come to relationships and even to strangers with such an agenda.  We need them to like us, to do something for us, to make us feel a certain way.

When it comes right down to it, we manipulate the majority of the people in our lives to do what we want them to do.

When is the last time you came to a relationship emptied of yourself, without your own agenda, and sought to know them and find out their need?

Wouldn’t our marriages be different if we weren’t always trying to get our way?

It’s called putting yourself in someone else’s shoes—-living in their skin.

And that is the very humility and love that Christ demonstrates toward us.   He is humility incarnate.

“He emptied Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”

I despair this morning that I’m so full of self, that I come to every single relationship  ready to plow my way through my own agenda.

But Christ has made the perfect exchange.

He takes on my pride and gives me His humility.

He takes on my lies and gives me His truth.

He takes my sin, death and darkness and gives me life and salvation.

We wear His humility and we get a glimpse of what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Hospitality is learning to live toward others with His borrowed love, in His perfect humility.

He gives us what we don’t have in exchange for what He has in abundance.

Lord, give us Your humility, teach us to give ourselves to others and forgive our stubborn selfishness.

Here’s a few practical tips on making room for others.  It won’t feel natural at first.  It’ll seem contrived.  But keep at it  and you’ll see your heart grow and change.

1.  Pray specifically that Christ help you see others through His eyes.

2.  When you encounter someone today, ask them a few questions about themselves.   I have a friend that is so good at this.  She is naturally curious about people and makes you feel like your life is so interesting.  You could talk to her for an hour and she’d never once turn the conversation to herself.  But be aware how quickly we all turn things back to our own lives, our own agenda.  This is takes practice and once you become conscious of it, you’ll see what I mean.

3.  Let yourself linger with thoughts of that person.  What must his life be like?  What are his struggles?  Is there any way I could help or be of some encouragement?

4.  Practice the same skills with your family.  You won’t make a ten year old any happier than by really listening, asking questions and being interested in what they’re doing.

Try it, with your own family, your coworkers, a perfect stranger and see if you don’t find that it’s not that hard to make room for others.

Pretty soon, you’ll have spaces in your heart that are emptied of self and ready to meet others.

And that space you make for others is the beginning of hospitality.


31 comments on “31 Days to Hospitality::Day 4 Making Room for Others”

  1. Another straight to the heart post, filled with truth. Truth that may be difficult to accept but truth nonetheless. It becomes so easy to fill our minds with thoughts of ourselves and not see even the simplest need in those around us.
    “I despair this morning that I’m so full of self, that I come to every single relationship  ready to plow my way through my own agenda.” I pray that God will open the eyes of my heart today. That I may empty my thoughts of myself little by little and be ready to serve others.

  2. “Fake it ’till you make it?”……..What wonderful words.
    I sincerely am going to give this my best effort. Giving instead of taking is always the best!
    Good post Edie.

  3. What wonderful thoughts for starting my day. I am not sure who I will be working with today but I always have a tendancy to fill the air with my voice, today I am going to work at finding out more about what is going on in my co-workers life, and my family.
    Thank you for so many good reminders for us.

  4. WOW! This is good stuff. I want to try putting these thoughts into practice. Boy, it’s hard to not focus on myself, but I so want to care for others in a more genuine way.
    Thanks for taking the time this month to write these posts. I’ve been enjoying them.

  5. Thank you for those great words of encouragement! I now have insight to why I have struggled with being hospitable. God bless you for your wisdom!

  6. I’m really enjoying your series! This really struck me “You could talk to her for an hour and she’d never once turn the conversation to herself. But be aware how quickly we all turn things back to our own lives, our own agenda.” Oftentimes in conversation, I do refer to myself and my own life (see?), but I’ve always thought of it as trying to open myself up to others, to let them in, to empathize. This was a good reminder that it’s not always interpreted that way. Good stuff.

  7. ok, edie, i’ve definitely not “arrived” but this is hard. i find myself lately just plain tired of people who only talk about themselves. i am curious about others & look for questions to ask that will engage them but i keep running across people who talk incessantly about themselves. i know my attitude is not Christ-like. i find my self making negative remarks to my husband about people who feign interest in us & then talk about themselves for 5 minutes before dashing off (at church). makes me want to avoid them 🙁

  8. Hi Edie – Thanks for this post. I always enjoy reading your blog, but this one really spoke to me today and I wanted to say thanks. Have a great day!

  9. Thank you so much for writing this series. It is giving me some things to ponder about. I am really enjoying it. Blessings on you and your family.

  10. Great words, Edie! I have a friend like that too. I used to think that she must really like me because when we were together she asked me all about myself and never changed the subject. One day, I realized that we never talked about her and so I didn’t know her very well. I began noticing that she did that with everyone. I was so embarassed at my self-absorption! She has taught me so much about the sacrifice required to love someone else and actually be interested in them. And I agree it is so unnatural, but so necessary for our souls. thanks for a great series!

  11. An older friend once told me a story about her mother in law.

    She said this woman’s husband would come home from farm work every day for lunch. One day he called her minutes before he would be home to tell her he was bringing a guest with him. She was worried because all she had to serve her husband for lunch was soup and a baked sweet potato, but determined to serve it joyfully and set it out before the men when they came in … turns out the business man that came home with her husband had no teeth and wouldn’t have been able to eat anything other than soup and sweet potatoes!!

    She shared this story as an encouragement for us to show hospitality using the things that the Lord has blessed us with. He has given all of us SOMETHING – whether little like a bowl of soup and a sweet potato or extravagant pantries full of goodies – we all have *something* we can offer to others.

    I spent a bit of time in West Africa and the hospitality they show there is incredible. They have so little and yet they are SO JOYFUL to give everything they have. It is humbling and incredible to be on the receiving end of someone elses “best” being offered… very convicting.

    Thank you for this series!! I am thoroughly enjoying it 🙂

  12. Less thought of self is a great way to think of humility. I’m putting into practice this with family first (just like looking into my kids’ eyes yesterday).

  13. I am really enjoying this series Edie! You have been such a great mentor to me, I really appreciate it! I am keeping up with the classics book club(re-reading all of those books I didn’t fully understand or enjoy while in college) and now with this series I am learning so much about how to be a better person! XOXO

  14. we are so, so, so full of ourselves.

    I must say that I am so grateful for a husband who prays every day that he loves me without an agenda.

    i have to admit that i have so much yet to learn….

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