Hospitality

When I was little, I remember having this deep love for people. I felt a great bond to my family and had a generally idealistic view of my future. My friends and my cousins were people that I just loved. Like, I’ll-be-there-for-you-through-anything-let’s-grow-up-and-live-around-each-other-and-never-leave-each-other-you’re-my-person love. Seriously. LOL. I was such a bleeding heart.

Even one of my principles of my business is that my clients receive an exceptional experience. I love making people feel loved. I haven’t always been good at it, but I love encouraging people with the Word. Thematically, all these qualities about me can be translated into the characteristic of hospitality. There is a lovely veil over hospitality that many people in our generation have failed to see under. I was simply praying about it yesterday and purposed to share my observations and revelations.

I guess if you are between the age of 23 and 32, you’re about my age and this post could be for you! If you’re younger or older than that age group, stick around. It could prove useful to you too. I guess cultural trends affect everyone of all ages.

One think I absolutely love doing is watching vintage commercials. Ones from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s especially. There is a cultural norm that the media highlighted back then and it was the norm of community and society. I’m sure many people in the wonderful 80’s and 90’s were like that. In all of these commercials, there seemed to be an unrequited presence of friends and family that enjoyed each other’s company. Now-a-days, most of the commercials you see for products and services highlight one person- to clarify excellent and genuine customer service, I suppose, or maybe because hiring one actor is cheaper….whatever it is, there’s a warm, homey feeling to those old commercials that just isn’t present in this day and age. Everything is posed, superficial, and cold, it seems sometimes.

So, what is hospitality? I asked God to teach me about hospitality some time ago, and from my readings and prayer, I found it to be a picture of acceptance, of welcoming, of God drawing us close. Isn’t that was being hospitable is in the natural sense? Welcoming people in, making them feel comfortable, like they belong there? In other cases, we can practice spiritual hospitality as well by prayerfully following His guidance in helping to make people feel better, at home, or more peaceful in the midst of a situation. You know, providing meals, experiencing life together, developing bonds and relationships, accepting genuine offers of generosity, praying for someone, and checking up on them. Those are just a few things that I’ve learned to do and have seen the joy and bond they foster.

So as a young woman, just starting out with a home of my own, in a new city, making new friends,  combined with my nature of hospitality, there’s bound to be some inviting and welcoming going on! But in my desire to be a warm host, I am drawn back to memories of other young couples I knew at one time or another. It seems that in this generation of believers, there could be a lack in hospitality. Like, having guests over for dinner, a bible study, just to hang out, or even opening up your home as a place to house a family or friends overnight. I’ve seen Generation X and the Baby Boomers open up their home, and grew up around people who opened up their homes, so where does the divide between the millennials and past generations begin?

Is it technology? Is it just the culture? Are we so perpetually connected through devices that an actual meeting seems irrelevant? These questions and their prospective answers span many genres and topics of conversation, but I am speaking specifically about hospitality, or the natural sense of the word which can include inviting people over to your place of relaxation or residence for whatever reason. I am aware that there could be many anomalies out there who provide places to stay for their hippie friends and/or family, but in my personal experience, the ring of people I’ve come in contact with, lack an abundance of hospitable people, for sure.

So, how, as young people do we continue to cultivate natural hospitality as a reflection of the early church? One of my favorite verses from Acts is this one:
 42 They were <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26992A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26992B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the breaking of bread and <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26992a" data-link="[a]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[a]<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26992C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>to prayer.
43 <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26993b" data-link="[b]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[b]Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26993D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>wonders and <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26993c" data-link="[c]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[c]signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26994d" data-link="[d]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[d]were together and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26994E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>had all things in common; 45 and they <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26995F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.46 <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26996G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26996H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>breaking bread <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26996e" data-link="[e]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[e]from house to house, they were taking their <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26996f" data-link="[f]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[f]meals together with gladness and <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26996g" data-link="[g]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[g]sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26997I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>having favor with all the people. And the Lord <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26997J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>was adding <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-26997h" data-link="[h]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[h]to their number day by day <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-26997K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>those who were being saved
      Acts 2:42-47
Oh, how I love this picture. I don’t have a framework, answer, or surefire way to offer warmth and kindness, but I know of a few ways we can start!

1. Keep on inviting! If you’re like me, you are the kind of person who sometimes dreams of hosting a meal or event that sets the stage for a great time! Although, there are two layers to the cake, per se, because although there may be a lot of inviting, there may not be a lot of accepting/receiving invitations. Or vice versa! Maybe you want to encourage someone by accepting their invite, but well….nobody is opening up their home. Keep on reaching out! Friendships can be developed over time and one day, BOOM! You’re hosting a lovely low country boil! (I’m southern.)

2. Don’t be embarrassed of your home. Is it small? Is it in the middle of renovation? Does it need a good cleaning? Is there laundry all over your bed or living room floor? Don’t sweat it. We are young, just starting out, building our lives and discovering the life God has planned for us. Even if you continue to live in a modest home, or choose to somehow live differently than those around you, give as much grace as you possibly can to yourself. More likely than not, your guests will have experienced or are experiencing a similar stage in life in one way or another. If we’re being honest here, I would personally love to visit a home that looks lived in and well used than a pristine, perfect magazine cover. Those are nice, but if I’m developing a relationship with you and getting to know you, we didn’t arrange for me to come over so you could not be relaxed in your own home, you know what I’m saying?!?!

3. Prayerfully pursue meaningful relationships that will be cultivated by hospitality. So, the point of this whole post is not to encourage you to find a random person to get coffee with then invite to your home in one day, no! I mean those friends whom you grow with, pray with, have fun with, and relax with. Ones that will rejoice at a hearty spaghetti dinner upon invitation. Oh, yeah. That’s me. The friends whom God has lead into your life for His purposes. Ones you can trust. Because not only is hospitality a wonderful quality, it’s also a very personal quality. Your home is sacred and where you could potentially be most vulnerable. So prayer is essential in recognizing those who are in your life for a reason. Those are the ones you pull close and celebrate life with.

Prayers that your week has gone well and that you can finish it out strong! What are your thoughts on hospitably, natural or spiritual? Are you a master at hospitality? What are your tips? Are you a newb? What questions or wonderings do you have? Feel free to leave a comment below and be blessed!

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