An Open House

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?!



Filed under General, Virtues

7 responses to “An Open House

  1. Kathy Nickerson

    Yikes indeed. Years ago I read Karen Mains’ book Open Heart, Open Home, and it set the tone for our hospitality for years. I think I’ll dig my copy out and read it again.

  2. I love this blog! I hear myself saying each one of your “excuses” and I don’t know why I feel that way. Are my closest friends and family really going to think less of me if the house does not look like a museum? I think hospitality is so much more difficult today with our evenings being full of us just trying to get things done. I have vowed to be more social after our house project is all finished. Hold me to that!

  3. Molly

    I remember a zillion years ago when we were looking for a church family we had been invited over to the pastor’s house for Sunday lunch. That day we lounged around their living room and enjoyed the fanciest of bologna sandwiches and the sweetest fellowship together and we knew we were “home”.

  4. What a great reminder. You’re so right.
    That pride, it’s a tough thing to fight.
    But I recognize that I miss out on many blessings when I let it win.

  5. I was feeling all proud of myself while reading this post, because we’re having friends over for dinner tonight, but then it occurred to it how long it’s been since the last time we had people over. It’s been six months, at least. That’s far, far too long to be smug. Oh, we invited them over because we wanted to hear their story of why they left the church we also left. So good gossip was kind of the motivating factor. Hm… Not feeling so good about myself anymore…

  6. Guess what?
    You won my give away! I was so happy to find out that you were #17!
    Just email me with your address and I’ll send it right to you.

  7. Well, Becky, that is the best news of my day so far! THANKS!

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