"Come in and sit for a while and let's be friends," were the best words I had heard in months. My sweet friend, also new to Austria, and our work in Eastern Europe, was the first person in three months to actually invite me to her home for a meal. I had gone to language school, found my way around this new strange city, and even learned how to buy groceries with my very limited German, but I longed for a personal touch. Loneliness as I had never felt it thrummed through every beat of my heart. I wished for someone to talk to who understood the "foreign-ness" of being in a country where few people fluently spoke my native language.
I even remember what my sweet friend served me that night--meatloaf, cottage cheese and steamed broccoli. Not fancy, but it seemed so familiar and I remember it as one of the best meals of my life, because is was served with such kindness and love. She extended the hospitality of Jesus to me and it warmed me to my toes.
This kind of heart-hospitality is the heart of my own home as well as my new book, The Lifegiving Table. I want to replicate that feeling of being invited in, welcomed, and understood to my children as well as friends who come to spend time with us.
Hospitality comes from the same root word as hospital, hospice, and hotel. Behind the words is the idea that hospitality seeks to provide for, protect, and care for the person who stays in your home. Hospitality is really committing to caring for the emotional, physical, spiritual needs of someone as long as they are in your home.
So often, we consider hospitality to be something that symbolizes perfect rooms with lovely decor, a well-prepared meal in a Martha Stewart-styled evening.
Yet, the history of the word was much more about heart than it was about performance. The heart of hospitality is modeled for us in the last supper, when Jesus lovingly prepared for His last evening with His beloved disciples. He prepared for these weary men He called His friends by choosing a quiet room, away from the noisy crowds. Food was carefully cooked and laid out to appease their manly appetites. Each man was served by having his dusty, dirty feet washed by the gentle hands of their master.
Candlelight flickered as the shadows of the setting sun crept along the walls of the old room. The comfort of being well provided for set the stage for their hearts to be open to the final, lasting words He desired to speak to the hearts of the men who would carry the kingdom messages into a dark and demanding world.
This summer, plan ways to serve your family and friends tasty food and heart-felt fellowship that will stay in their hearts for a lifetime.
Our home is the place where we offer the hospitality of Christ to our children, our spouses, our friends and to the needy who live with us inside our walls.
What kind of plans do you have for making your home a place of true hospitality, this summer?
*quick note--our Mother's Day bundle winners are ... Jeannine Condon, Barbara Bianchi,
Kelly G, Kathy Josefy! Please email your physical address to email@example.com . Congratulations!
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!
I am so excited to tell you that my newest book, The LIfegiving Table is now listed in Bookstore catalogues. It comes out in October and we will have lots of fun celebrating this launch with you.
Our table was truly the centerpiece of our lives for shaping our children's hearts to love God, giving them intellectual strength and forging deep and close relationships. Can't wait to share it with you in October.
And this time you can get it in a hard back version if you like.