Once a year our church invites the surrounding community to an Open House. The food service department puts together a free steak dinner, the music department organizes a short program, and everyone else sets out signs and displays that highlight our best efforts in education, health care, recovery programs, and other services. It is both exhausting and exhilerating.
Tonight I feel pretty confident about our big day tomorrow, but I wonder if I’m as prepared for an Open House in my own home?
Practice hospitality. This is one of Paul’s simple encouragements to the Christians in Rome. But I find myself reluctant to put this one into practice. It seems my bathrooms are never clean enough, my laundry never caught up enough, my cooking never interesting enough. We are always too busy or too tired.
But are these just excuses? Once when the women in my family were trading group emails concerning the endless work of house cleaning and how frantic we were to get it all done weekly, my grandma piped in with a short email scolding us all. In an effect, it said she knew she was never an immaculate housekeeper but hoped we had “felt the love” in her house anyway. Well, did we ever!
Since then I’ve tried to remember that Paul didn’t tell us to practice cleaning the house. He didn’t mention cooking gormet meals. He never even said anything about making sure our home decor was up-to-date. He just said to practice hospitality. Sure, that includes getting better at making people feel welcome (and that means having a sofa clear enough for people to sit on), but in its most basic form is just means to do it.
When I think about it, the reasons to not practice hospitality are usually selfish, usually about my pride. Yikes!
Hey, do you want to come over?!