I’m currently reading Haley Stewart’s new book, “The Grace of Enough”, and I was inspired by what she wrote about hospitality. We aren’t called to love people who look like us, and were raised like us. We are called to love everyone.
My in-laws are a wonderful example of this kind of radical hospitality. When they host Thanksgiving, they invite all kinds of people who may not have somewhere to go. They come from all backgrounds, income levels, and life circumstances. They welcome everyone.
Haley Stewart brings up a video about what hospitality used to look like, and here it is now (warning: there is some bad language in this video) :
You have to admit, what this guy says is so true!
These days you have to make plans 3 weeks before if you want to see someone. (If they ever answer your text. And they might cancel at last minute because of a better opportunity) And you can’t just ring the doorbell, you at least have to text first. The problem with that, though, is most people will just say no because they aren’t “ready”.
Guys, we don’t have to wait until we can afford a four course meal, a Pinterest-curated home, brand new furniture, and pristine cleanliness for someone to come over. Let’s be like Jennifer Fulwiler, who doesn’t worry to much about the state of her home because she know that it will prevent her from being open to hospitality, she just lights some candles, puts some music on and makes appetizers. Voila, it’s a party. lol
I’m not saying it isn’t nice to decorate, and have a clean and tidy place for people to come, but if you really struggle with those things, you don’t have to wait until you are Martha Stewart to welcome people into your home. Amen? Amen.
Now I really relate to the video I posted because I used to be the type who would hide and army crawl and look for a sword (Okay, fine. Maybe not that last part. ). You see, I’m an introvert and I can be very awkward in social situations, and I also have always been shy. I also have been insecure about not being “enough” and not having “enough” in order to have people over to my home. But this all has changed.
I started to invite people over when I had my first baby. I just wanted to share him with everyone I knew and God gave me a desire to have community. Am I where I need to be? No, but thank God I’m not where I used to be! I have a long way to go , to be more open to all the people in my life.
Let me emphasize, I don’t have a full set of matching dishes. I don’t have designer furniture. I don’t have a gigantic home. But I have food to share, a place to gather, and love to bestow. And I think most of us also can check those same boxes. And if some of you have even more abundance materially, I challenge you to share what you have with others. Open your home, share a meal. Otherwise, why have all that stuff? You may as well run a museum.
You may think, like I did, who would want to come to my house? It’s this, or it’s not that, etc. But I have to tell you through experience, it will all work out. No one has ever walked into my home and said “I can’t be here because it’s not fancy enough”. lol!
And I just have to say, of course there is a time to be prudent. Maybe you are going through a lot in your life and you can’t handle the stress of entertaining. Because it is a lot of work. But maybe you are like me, and this becomes the rule of your life instead of the exception. And I have a feeling most of us could probably stretch ourselves a little. Just a little. Jennifer Fulwiler says in one of her books that , and I paraphrase, life is a party, and the more the merrier, but if you are battling a rattlesnake infestation, now probably isn’t the time to have a BBQ – but this probably doesn’t happen as much as we think.
So invite someone over. Reach out to family, a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, an acquaintance, an elderly person, a lonely person, your local priest, that single person you know, that one family with all those kids, that couple with no kids. They probably are waiting for you to. I think most of us would love more human connection, but don’t take the first step because we are afraid the other person will only oblige out of pity instead of genuinely wanting to be with us. Get over it, do it anyway. Invite them over. It really is okay to have grilled cheese, and an imperfect house, because hospitality is about loving your guest, not about receiving praise and approval (and likes on Facebook and Instagram.) You and your guest will be blessed by your hospitality. Yes, there will be a mess to clean up, but maybe that’s what being open to life is. Maybe that’s what loves looks like. A beautiful mess.