A few weeks ago while in a conversation with a young mother I was saddened by a comment she made about her home. This beautiful, bright, talented young woman was lamenting the fact that she felt her home was inadequate to welcome people as guests. In so many words, she shared the “if only” syndrome. If only my house were larger, cleaner, more organized, conveniently located, newer, older, . . . .then I could participate more in offering hospitality.
That hurt my heart. It actually angered me a little. Not at her. She is Christian that is devoted to her family, her church and her God. But she has been utterly seduced by the world around her – at least in regard to the gift of hospitality. I understand some of the meaning behind her comment. In a way it sounds totally innocent. Yet this precious gifted child of God has spent the better part of her adult life trying to create the perfect environment. Every design trend, each new color choice, new flooring, and furniture selections are made to replicate something fashionable, something that will never be enough.
Her desire has become the battle cry of our culture, “This isn’t good enough. You deserve better. You need something different. If you change this, you’ll be happy. Buy this and you will be satisfied. Then you will finally be able to ___________. “ Just fill in the blank with your particular longing.
She genuinely believes that if certain physical changes were made in her surroundings she would then be able to practice hospitality. There’s the lie. The one that has deceived her all this time. And it’s the same lie we all believe on occasion. “When I lose 10 pounds I’ll go on that trip with my husband. When my kids are grown I’ll be able to be more active in the church. When these bills are paid off, I’ll be able to tithe. When work slows down I’ll be able to do a Bible Study or start a devotional time.” All are conditions that we impose upon ourselves limiting our potential in the Kingdom. They are lies whispered (sometimes screamed) into our ears by the father of lies. Tragically it’s not just limitation or fear that manifests from this lie. It originates with the most devastating lie of all, the same one which Adam and Eve succumbed – ‘God does not desire what is best for you. He cannot or will not provide everything you need.’ Wrong.
Each gift, each desire of the heart, each longing; God uses for kingdom purposes. These gifts are not for hoarding or holding or waiting until that perfect time when all of our conditions are met. God has thoroughly equipped us for any service to which he opens the door. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
Hospitality is a gift, a gift of opening our hearts, our homes and our lives to those around us in need. Sometime the need is a safe landing place and a cup of coffee. Sometimes the need is a table to gather around during the holiday season. And sometimes the need is a simple bowl of soup and companionship. Hospitality is never based upon the condition of the home but rather, the condition of the heart.
As we enter into the holiday season of hurry, rush, wait and fret; let’s hit “pause” and “mute.” Allow yourself to reflect on what you have instead of what is missing or what you desire. Count your blessings if you must, but at the very least take time to be truly aware of what you do have. And then as a holy offering of gratitude to God, offer it back to Him in a gracious act of hospitality. Open your heart and your home to those around you. Stop worrying about the decor, the menu or the size of the table. Put down the Christmas issues of your favorite magazines, log off of Pinterest and simply look around at what you already possess. Chances are it is everything you need, and then some. More than enough to share.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
In His abundance,