by Julie Froisland
I’ve often thought that we should get a revolving front door for our home. Yes, there are a lot of comings and goings with our family of 10. Beyond that though, we have a steady stream of “others” that come through that door. My adult kids host a “Minecraft Monday” every week. Other events at our domicile include monthly potlucks, homeschool youth group meetings, periodic ladies ministry events, and even Vacation Bible School (in pandemic years). Our desire in ministering to others with our home is not only to serve God, but to also use hospitality as a teacher for our kids. We believe there are five important lessons hospitality teaches.
How am I defining hospitality?
There are various ways to be hospitable. Setting up a park playdate, asking others out to lunch, or even inviting people to join you for church can be seen as exercising hospitality. It’s helping others to feel welcomed and cared for whether you know them well or not.
For this post, I am focusing particularly on hosting people in the home as that is the primary way we show hospitality. With that, these are the five important lessons hospitality teaches.
1. Hospitality is a command we need to obey
1 Peter 4:9 says simply, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Romans 12:13 commands, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Additionally, the author of Hebrews, in 13:2, writes: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” I don’t think you need a commentary to interpret these verses (okay, maybe the entertaining angels part).
It’s easy to formulate reasons why you can’t exercise hospitality. “It’s the wrong season in life.” “I have a small house; I can’t invite people over.” “We’re too busy.” I admit to saying some of those statements at one time. However, as with any challenge, we have to think creatively and figure out “how we can” versus “why we can’t.” If God is telling us through his word that we are to show hospitality, then this is a command we need to obey.
2. Hospitality helps develop a team mentality
When we have an event coming up, my family knows it’s “all hands on deck” time. Meaning, everyone in the house plays a part in preparing for guests. We are a well-oiled machine when it comes to our monthly potlucks. Each person in the family knows what needs to be done. Apart from the cleaning and setting up of tables and chairs, one kid takes out toys, chalk, and bubbles for our littlest guests. Another counts out the plastic silverware and plates. Others help with food, and other aspects of hosting. Working together brings home the point that everyone has an important job as part of our family team.
3. Hospitality involves sacrifice
One of the hardest things for me to sacrifice is time. I try to budget my time wisely and don’t have much surplus to spare. Preparing to open your home to others definitely involves time. There’s also a financial component. Paper goods, plastic silverware, heating or cooling your house, all involve a cost. For my kids, they’ve sometimes had to sacrifice in the way of broken toys or a messed-up room. Now that they’re older, time has become more of a factor. Since they’re not allowed to be on screens when we have guests over, they might miss out on their limited screen time. They take it in stride however, knowing sometimes you have to give up something for the greater good, and hospitality involves sacrifice.
4. Hospitality requires sharing
This is closely linked with sacrifice. Sometimes it’s hard to share (that goes for adults and children alike). When we open our home to others, we are not just sharing our belongings. We are also sharing our lives. I remember a time back when five of my kids were aged five years and younger. My house was definitely not as organized as I would have liked. We were having people over and someone commented, “I like being at your house because it’s messy like mine.” I admit that at the time, that statement stung more than it should have. I knew that person did not mean any offense and was being genuine, but I wanted my house to be more put together than it was. I realized though, that I was sharing our family life. This included the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
5. Hospitality brings many blessings
The sacrifice and the sharing that I described above really does not compare with the many blessings we receive from others when we spend time with them. Back in the day when I was nursing babies, I would go upstairs to nurse. My room was directly over the area where people would gather when we had guests. I would sit back and enjoy the sound of laughter and people talking. Relationships were being formed and were being strengthened by people spending quality time together. What a blessing to be a part of that!
Bonus reason #6
This may actually be the best thing that hospitality teaches us, it teaches us to be more like Jesus. Jesus obeyed his father’s commands perfectly. Jesus works as part of a team called the triune God. That team works perfectly in sync at all times. Jesus definitely knows about sacrifice since he sacrificed his life for the sins of his people. Because of that sacrifice, Jesus shares his inheritance with us as he has made us co-heirs with him. As our Savior, Jesus gives us blessings upon blessings.
It turns out that hospitality is a very good teacher.
Julie is a mom of eight (four born in the United States, four born in China) who has been homeschooling for 20 years. In her former life she was an elementary school teacher and a preschool teacher. She believes two essentials to homeschooling are flexibility and a good sense of humor (prayer and dark chocolate are requirements). She loves studying and teaching God’s word, reading, practicing martial arts, spending time with her immediate and church family, and baking. In her spare moments, she blogs at hislifelearner.com.