Post by Therese Kay
The dictionary defines hospitality as: "the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers."
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Some receive this mandate of hospitality with some resistance. Including me. We think of dinner parties and events and cooking and cleaning and shopping and scurrying around like a crazy person. I love having a friend or two over for a cup of tea, but the thought of hosting a Holiday dinner like Thanksgiving stresses me out. All that work. I get tired and cranky just thinking about it. We often think of the need to impress our friends and family with a super tidy and nicely decorated home and a well-cooked fancy meal with all the fancy china and table cloths. This is so not what Jesus had in mind.
Let's look at that definition of hospitality again: "the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers." Making our guests feel welcome in our home, providing them with warmth, comfort, and generous kindness is so much more important than the fanciest china we own or don't.
If we forget the friendly and generous reception part, we are in danger of having Martha's experience rather than Mary's.
Luke 10:38-42 (NRSV): Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
Now, I will be honest. I'd be as annoyed as Martha, if my family were sitting around chit-chatting instead of helping me get the meal on the table. But that chit-chatting is connection. That chit-chatting is also hospitality and is no less important than the meal.
Rather than resenting the chance to serve and connect with our guests, we need to seek to connect with them and welcome them. Carry the yoke of responsibility to cook and clean for them lightly.
In Part 1, Day 5 of the devotional, Kathleen shares this:
Be present in the moment while you are cooking and cleaning. Be mindful that in doing so, you may be entertaining angels!
Matthew 25:40 "And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’"
Just as you serve your loved ones, you are serving Christ.
In Part 5, Day 6 of the devotional, Kathleen reminds us that we can give to Jesus, just as He has given to us.
“I give to you, but you can also give to Me. When Mary of Bethany spent a year’s wages anointing me I said, “She has done a beautiful thing to Me.”
Let us pray:
God help us to remember that we can do beautiful things for you by doing beautiful things for the people around us. In the hustle and bustle and stress, help us to remember to choose presence and connection with those we have invited into our home over serving with resentment or trying to impress. Amen.