"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 3 months to actually have me in her home for a meal. I had gone to language school, found my way around this new strange city, 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 the beats of my heart. I wished for someone to talk to who understood the "foreigness" of being in a country where few people fluently spoke my native language.
I even remember what she 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.
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 the order of a Martha Stewart evening.
Yet, the history of the word was much more about heart than it was about performance. The Heart of hospitality is captured 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 creeped 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.
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.
Cultivating a heart for hospitality begins with a mental grid of seeing those in your home as a divine appointment allowed by God to extend His generous and gentle love, His words of healing, His promise of hope.
Join Kristen Kill and me today as we share from our heart some of the messages you will find in my new book, The Lifegiving Home.
Register for the party and invite your friends!