Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’ll soon have family and friends around the table. So I asked my friend, Sue Donaldson to share a little about hospitality
I’ll do hospitality, but can’t I complain? (Just a little?)
There are some gray areas in Scripture, but hospitality isn’t one of them. God says to do hospitality–see I Peter 4:9:
“Welcome others into your home…”
And He adds a convicting twist:
“Do it, Sue, and don’t complain.”
Whaaattt? I can’t complain? I’m an American. Complaining is what we do best. It’s in the Bill of Rights, right?
“I will hereby obey God, but don’t expect me not to express my opinion, positive or otherwise.”
Here we go:
“Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” I Peter 4:9 NAS
Hmm. I wonder why Peter felt a need to add that little qualifier: without complaint. I can think of some reasons.
We may complain because:
- Having extra guests is expensive
- Doing dishes isn’t our favorite
- We have a Masters Degree in something (can’t remember exactly) but we’re sure it’s not in “thinning the soup to accommodate more people” or “changing the sheets one more time.”
- We don’t like extra laundry (we don’t like normal laundry.)
- A full-time maid isn’t in the budget today. Tomorrow isn’t looking good, either.
- The dog is messy and jumps on people (after three different training classes.)
- We don’t cook as well as ________________
- We don’t decorate as well as ________________
Let’s see – what else?
- Oh, your husband doesn’t talk much, he wasn’t raised with company, he would rather check your pulse than check your coat. (Complaining is okay if you can blame it on someone else.)
See? Lots of reasons to complain! (I’m going to curl up in a ball this very second and suck my thumb. Hospitality is hard and I may need to complain. Just a little.)
First and foremost, if I remember this “Hospitality Motivation” I don’t complain quite so much:
God wants our table to show off His love and welcome.
Alrighty, then. That is a very big reason. (So I wrote it in very big letters.)
Will I obey? I hope so.
Will I obey without complaint? That can be a stretch.
Aren’t I allowed one gripe while doing sheets again? Can’t I grumble quietly while running to the store one last time or running the dishwasher twice in a day? (Peter didn’t have a dishwasher–bet he didn’t do the dishes either.) No, I’m not allowed one gripe or grumble.
Will you give it to Him? Without complaining?
Here’s a sweet translation of I Peter 4:9–
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay for the night. (Living Bible)
I can be cheerful on the outside but complainy on the inside. It can take God Almighty, Himself to change out a grumbling spirit. Since it’s His idea, I’m sure He won’t mind. I do need to ask.
Yesterday we invited friends to say “farewell” to our next-door neighbors, Ken and Michelle, who are moving to Northern California after thirteen years. Hosting was a stretch, time-wise. I got home at 2:20 from a women’s retreat. My Man-in-Plaid had kept the house picked-up, such as it was, and helpfully shlepped all my baggage upstairs where no one would see — until he gave some guests a tour. (Oh, brother.) Guests arrived at 3. I had made two cakes last week and put them in the freezer. (And made frosting by 2:53.) I had no reason to complain with a good man and a good deep freezer.
Secondly, it helps me not to complain if I do some planning in advance.
Two cakes already baked gave me peace of mind while driving home along the beautiful Pacific Ocean when I didn’t know exactly when I would get home. I didn’t have time to change clothes. It didn’t matter.
What I didn’t think about in advance was flowers for the table. But God did. The retreat committee gave me yellow tulips. I love tulips – don’t you? And they went beautifully with a lemon cake from the deep freeze.
Finally, I don’t need to complain about doing hospitality because God will provide when I can’t.
A lesson in hospitality: what we don’t think of, God will. That’s all. (God doesn’t mind imperfect hospitality, by the way.)
Feeling a little grumbly about inviting in the world, for heaven’s sake? I get it. Hospitality is hard. These three things help me not complain (quite so much!)
- First, remember why you invite: to show off the welcoming heart of God
- Second, do something – even one thing – in advance to ease the burden
- Finally, trust God to provide what you can’t
I’d love to hear your “Hospitality is Hard” story – email me and let’s share the encouragement.
Come to My Table: God’s Hospitality and Yours
Hospitality, 101: Lessons From the Ultimate Host–a 12-Week Bible Study
“Hospitality Made Simple” Printable Planner
“The Unfussy Host” Bundle: A Beginner’s Guide to Hospitality
“7 Days to Hospitality” eCourse
How To Do Hospitality Even If I Don’t Cook! Click below:
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