I also wanted to thank two people for their very thoughtful comments:
Leah - "I almost appreciate being invited into "humble" homes more than any other kind, because it makes me feel comfortable. Sometimes super "nice" homes can make me feel like I don't belong there or constantly afraid I might ruin something. "Humble" homes encourage me to open up my own humble home!"
This made me think about the times I have been most impressed by someone's hospitality. While I have been in the homes of some well-to-do people, neither of the times that stand out the most to me were situations like that. One was when a single older man invited our family over. He worked very hard preparing way too much food and setting the table "just so". His efforts and kindness made us feel loved and appreciated. Another time, a different single older man invited us over. He suffered with his mental health and had very little. He made some chicken and a salad for us and we all sat on the floor to eat. His apartment was very bare, but, again, he went out of his way for us, and I felt both humbled and honored. These men helped me learn that anyone can show hospitality, no matter what their circumstances.
And then Amy said: "Sometimes we think we don't have the time or resources to be hospitable to the folks who do really need it because we're too busy working on how to impress the ones who don't really need it with our "hospitality"."
Yes, yes, this is so true. Biblical hospitality is not about entertaining, it is about showing love and fulfilling someone's needs, whether their needs are a full tummy or just someone to talk to. It's all about others.
Who needs our hospitality?
- The poor, someone who may never be in a position to repay us (Luke 14:12-14)
- Strangers (Hebrews 13:2)
- Enemies (Romans 12:20)
- Orphans & widows (James 1:27)
- The sick (Matthew 25:36)
- Those in prison or who are lonely (Matthew 25:36)
- Fellow Christians (Galatians 6:10)
- Our own families (1 Timothy 5:8) - they need our warmth and generosity too!
On the subject of hospitality, there is much to say. I'm not the only one saying it though. Passionate Homemaking has chosen the topic of Hospitality as the theme for the month and there have been some excellent articles there. Here they are if you have not seen them:
Defining Hospitality: Strangers Welcoming Strangers
Encouraging Edifying Conversations During Hospitality
Practicing Hospitality with Kids
Hospitality: To Bless or Impress
The Best (and Most Overlooked) Way to Prepare Our Home for Guests
A Call to Practice Hospitality
We lose what on ourselves we spend,
We have, as treasures without end,
Whatever, Lord, to thee we lend,
Who givest all - Who givest all.
- Christopher Wordsworth
Matthew 6:19-21 - Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.