(I gave this talk at my sister’s church on Friday night and I wanted to share some of it with you, too. At the end, there’ll be a way to download the pdf of the talk, in case you’re interested.)
There is a message that burns in my heart. I call it the Jesus way of hospitality. Thinking about it and writing about it has caused a radical shift in the way I think about the people I encounter everyday, especially those who are closest to me.
The reason I’m obsessed with this kind of hospitality is because I’m not naturally very good at it and I see so little of it in our world. We are SO easy to be critical and judgemental and full of gossip about the people in our lives, but not so willing to lay down our lives for them. And since the world has enough critics, I hope this message will light a fire in you like it has in me, to show the world a better way.
The trouble is—I’m just like the next girl. I want to sit and work and live RIGHT inside my comfort zone, with people who are just like me. I want to fit in and be part of the in crowd. I want to sit with the important people, whoever they are, at the head of the table. I’m the disciple who asked Jesus if he could sit on his right or left. I’m usually way more concerned about the Pinterest way of hospitality—the kind that wants to impress people instead of carrying their burdens. I’m guessing that’s your default too. That’s why we need to take a new look at what Jesus had to say about being in this world with other people.
The Jesus way of hospitality was radical and uncomfortable and difficult.
The Jesus way of hospitality was always taking the disciples by surprise and questioning their motives and their methods. Why are you feeding people when there’s no food? Why are you inviting children and the blind and lame, and worse yet, why are you always in the company of prostitutes and tax collectors and why are you always eating with sinners?
The Jesus way of hospitality looks a lot like being your sister’s keeper and forgiving her sins and seeing her need and feeding her. It is a hospitality of the spirit AND the flesh, it is a hospitality of inconvenience and ultimately of suffering. There were no pretty tablescapes and no Pinterest worthy meals in the New Testament—just a little broken bread and a some words of forgiveness and healing.
And nobody loves the Pinterest idea of Hospitality more than me. Have you SEEN my Pinterest boards lately?
I look around at all those pretty meals and tablescapes and I drool. I’ve been blogging for eight years and hospitality has always been my thing. If you visit my blog, you’ll find all kinds of resources for meals and decorating and hospitality. I ADORE holidays and tablescapes and all the pretty things. And I’m Southern so I’m supposed to be good at this, right? I LOVE finding new ideas on Pinterest for how to get supper on the table and how to make a bed out of duct tape.
But often, you know who is blessed when I’m setting beautiful tables and making lavish meals and keeping up with the Jones’s? I am. I’m proud of myself that it seems like I’ve thought of everything. I make handmade place cards and homemade pie crust and put flesh flowers into carved out pumpkins and it looks beautiful. But if I’m not careful, the people who have been with me leave my presence feeling shallowly impressed with me and not really cared for and loved on at all.
Often, My hospitality has been impressive but it has not been life-giving.
My hospitality has been pinnable but it has not been sacrificial.
My hospitality has so often been for me and not for my neighbor.
With Jesus, there is a better way. He is Hospitality incarnate.
(To read the rest, download the whole talk below as a pdf and share with your friends who might be looking for a better way than the way of the critic. If you’re already subscribed to my email list, you’ll get a message that says Already Subscribed, but it will send you the pdf anyway. If you aren’t subscribed, it will add you and you’ll get an email from me about once a week. Unsubscribe after you get the download if you don’t wish to get my weekly emails! No hard feelings, I promise.)