Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:8-10 (NIV)
It was a long holiday weekend and the card came in the mail — a beautiful card simply signed, “Virginia.”
She wrote a note that began: Dear friends. I was so touched by the sincerity of the card, but how could we be dear friends when we always seem to be so busy whenever she calls? We’re always coming and going, and our house is packed with three kids and their teenage friends. Our lives are sometimes utter chaos, and we barely wave to her when we pass her house. Aren’t dear friends ones who have regular access to our lives? Who are there with you in thick and thin?
On Christmas Eve, a cheese ball and crackers showed up at our door, beautifully presented and again another lovely card written to “Dear friends.”
Then a phone call came, and a message was left by Virginia saying, “I’m home now!” The sad part was I wasn’t even aware that she was gone. I began to feel convicted because this generous woman clearly loved and needed our family more than we knew.
Virginia’s gift for hospitality has blessed our family now for four years. When we moved into this home, I went around our neighborhood introducing myself and our family. I exchanged phone numbers and in Virginia’s case, I told her to call me if she ever needed anything. She has several times, and we’ve helped her in various ways.
The word “hospitality” seems to be a scary word for many. In our busyness, we are fearful of commitment, of something taking us away from “our” time. Or we think hospitality only means hosting a huge party or bringing a potluck dish to a gathering. But the blessing of hospitality can be as simple as taking a piece of leftover cake or pie to your neighbor. It can be making sandwiches for the homeless once a week. It’s this kind of hospitality that doesn’t have anything to do with whether you have a home or the state of your home.
It has nothing to do with gourmet food or the perfect timing of a gift. It sometimes starts with a spark, thinking about someone else first, and then acting on the idea by following through with a blessing.
Perhaps it comes down to this simple truth: Hospitality isn’t about you. It’s about making others feel warm and welcome. It’s friendliness, a caring attitude, and sometimes putting the grumbling aside — all ways of showing love and revealing God’s grace.
When’s the last time you reached out to someone in need and how did you live out the simplicity of hospitality?
Originally written by Sandy Coughlin for (in)courage in 2011.
Leave a Comment