Okay, I admit it! I’m not the Suzy Homemaker type. I barely know the difference between a colander and a custard. Did you know that dusting can mean putting something on something OR taking something off something? You dust the coffee table – you dust the coffee cake. No wonder I’m confused.
I don’t really have any excuses for not being more domestic, either. We live in a world where appliances do all the hard work for us. The grocery store has food – it’s not like we have to plant and harvest it ourselves. I just don’t really enjoy it very much. I love the results, but getting there is not fun for me. However, my friends still hang out at my house occasionally; my kids (when they lived at home as teens) invited their friends over and nobody got sick; and I’ve even been known to host an occasional Tupperware® party. I guess I’m somewhat hospitable, but I’m sure there’s room for improvement.
Hospitality is important to God. After all, He’s in heaven preparing a home and a banquet for us. He wants us to practice hospitality here as well. Romans 12:13b says it plainly: “Practice hospitality.” For some examples of extraordinary hospitality, let’s look at three women who got it right.
BUT I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH [Ref: 1 Kings 17]
When she looked in her cupboards, they were bare except for ‘a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.’ When Elijah asked her for a little water and a piece of bread, the Sidonian widow was afraid to share the last of her food. She needed it to feed her son the last meal she thought she’d ever feed him. There was no hope for more – the entire country was being consumed by drought and famine. She voiced her fears to Elijah who said, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and you son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah told her. There was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
When we say, “But I don’t have enough,” God says, “That’s okay, use what you have and I’ll supply all you need.”
BUT I CAN’T INVITE PEOPLE TO MY HOUSE. [Ref: 1 Samuel 25]
Remember Abigail? “Intelligent and beautiful, but her husband [Nabal] was surly and mean in his dealings.” When David’s men came to him and asked for provisions, Nabal was insulting, stingy and just plain rude. “One of the servants told Abigail: “David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. Yet these men were good to us…the whole time we were out in the fields near them…they were a [protective] wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep.” Abigail lost no time. She took [food and drink] and loaded them on donkeys.” Then she went to meet David herself.
There’s a lot more to the story than this, but the point is that sometimes you have to show hospitality away from your own home. There may be some circumstance in your family that doesn’t allow you to have others come in, but you can always reach out. It can be as easy as sharing a table with other shoppers at the Costco cafeteria or helping a little kid reach the drinking fountain. Even if you don’t end up being the king’s next wife, God will honor your efforts at hospitality.
BUT I’M TOO BUSY, TIRED, OLD…WHATEVER. [Ref: Luke 1]
“Zechariah, I am too old for this! My feet ache, my back aches, even my aches ache. And I’m tired, so tired. Plus, I haven’t got everything ready for this kid.” Zechariah, of course, said nothing. He still had three months to go before “his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak, praising God.”
Of course, I’m referring to Elizabeth & Zechariah, the parents of John (who became the Baptizer.) I don’t know for sure if Elizabeth complained about being pregnant, old, achy, tired and busy, but I do know that I probably would have. And maybe you would have, too. Sometimes life is like that.
But then Mary shows up. Mary – who is young, scared and a virgin mother; Mary – who tells Zechariah and Elizabeth a tale of a shining angel and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge that there is new life growing in her womb; Mary – carrying NEW LIFE for every person who ever believed in the coming Messiah and who would ever believe in a Savior.
Elizabeth’s aches were set aside, her husband’s silence forgotten, her seclusion ended – the only reminder of her own situation was when “the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” She began at that moment to minister to her niece. Elizabeth pronounced blessings on Mary; she rejoiced, encouraged, and affirmed Mary. They glorified God together. And Elizabeth let Mary stay a while, resting and marveling at the wonder of God. Sometimes, God calls us to let go of ourselves long enough to hold someone else.
So, even if you don’t wear diamonds to do the dusting (tables or cakes) or your life isn’t perfect (whose life is?) you can still practice hospitality – give what you can, reach out, and value others. That’s really what hospitality is all about.
About Jeanne Montgomery
Jeanne, Jane, Sis, Auntie, Mom, Gigi and Grey Bird. That’s me.
Grey Bird Takes Flight has its beginnings here: After nearly ten years of floundering with a chronic illness that completely turned my life upside-down, I’ve decided enough is enough.
I don’t have to stay here.
I am not helpless or hopeless.
I am not used up or aged out.
So, like a baby bird I’m going to creep to the edge of this nest, giving up its relative comfort and safety to spread my wings and fly . . . or fall.
If I fall, I will get back up again.
I’d love you to join me as we explore breaking free from fear, developing our creativity, devotion, and healthy emotion? Basically building a new nest.