I’ve been thinking about what’s needed to show hospitality. A person in our church small group did not have us into his home, but hosted us at the church building and showed great hospitality. Others volunteered to bring additional food and showed their hospitality in that way. But nothing compares with having someone in your home. When I’ve spent time in someone’s home, I feel that I know them better and it increases how much I care about them. The same is true when I have them in my own home.
My parents demonstrated throughout their lives that hospitality is not based on possessions or surroundings. My earliest memories are when they invited people into their home when we lived in a drafty, rickety house with linoleum floors and a kerosene stove. The warmth of their hospitality overcame the physical obstacles. So when they finally built a house, it was built specifically for hosting lots of people at a time and with enough bedrooms that no homeless person or one in personal difficulty was ever turned away.
When we were first married and invited people to dinner, no one seemed to mind that they could only stand upright in the center of our attic apartment. When we moved to a shotgun half of a small house, guests never complained about the tiny kitchen or the little table we ate on being within two feet of the bathroom door. Now that our children are grown and gone, our home is large enough to accommodate a visiting missionary family with the parents and children having separate rooms. Hosting is a bit easier but the warmth is the same.
When our son and his wife married, their apartment was so small that there was no table at all! Guests ate on their laps on the sofa or sitting on the floor. Fourteen years later, that couple is still using the same sofa, but now in their guest house that shelters those in need of retreat time or temporary housing.
Our daughter and son-in-law host so many people on a regular basis that when they have a party the numbers overflow their modest home. Sometimes they overflow into our house, which is fine with us. They host various groups regularly and welcome the diversity of their friendships.
God will always bless our resources and our examples. He provides what we need so that we can provide for others. I am humbled to see through the generations that “given to hospitality” (Romans 12:13, KJV) is a family trait that God continues to encourage and bless. Blessings upon all who invite and are invited!