Biblical Hospitality and Unexpected Guests


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Have you ever had someone you know unexpectedly knock on your door?

I’ve always struggled with whether to invite them in or just see if they quickly need something. I want to be hospitable, but sometimes their visit catches me off guard. This usually looks like me trying to hide the leftover breakfast crumbs on the table and the blocks and toys that are all over the floor. All the while being polite and excited to see the person knocking on my door.

Made for Relationships

Like every other woman in America, I love the HGTV hit “Fixer Upper”. But as they are revealing the home to the homeowners, I can’t help but think about how long the house will actually look like that. Every accent of the home has been staged and designed beautifully. I don’t know about you, but my family would walk in and it would be a disaster in about five minutes.

As women, we believe that our homes must look perfect in order to invite anyone over. Maybe that’s why you never have guests because your home is always a mess. I’ve been there. The problem is, it’s difficult to connect with other believers when we believe this lie.

God created us to love one another and to have great conversations together. He didn’t create us to obsess over how clean or messy our homes are. Like everything we have, our homes belong to Christ. They are to be used for His glory, not for our own.

“Hospitality, however, seeks to minister. It says, “This home is not mine. It is truly a gift from my Master. I am His servant and I use it as He desires.” Hospitality does not try to impress, but to serve.” -Karen Burton Mains, quote from Open Heart, Open Home

Our primary purpose for inviting someone in should be to display the love of Christ. The condition of our home shouldn’t distract us from truly serving and loving our neighbor.

What’s the point?

So, maybe the solution to being hospitable is to commit to a cleaning schedule or get into the habit of at least keeping the living area picked up. We can always find little ways to improve our homemaking skills. But what we should focus on more than anything else is our motives.

I was recently listening to a video by Jen Wilkin, where she was talking about biblical hospitality. She stated that someone can host and create a beautiful dinner party with a fancy meal and it can be either entertaining or hospitality.

The two can look very similar. But if the hostess is doing it for their own glory and constantly fishing for compliments on how beautiful their tablescape is, they are obviously not practicing biblical hospitality. Another hostess could simply enjoy the work that goes into creating something breathtaking so that they can minister to those around them and reveal to them the beauty of Christ.

The difference between the two comes down to our motives. If we are willing to open the doors of our home whether it’s tidy or messy, we can be the hands and feet of Christ. But if we are focused on ourselves and our imperfections, we will be distracted from truly showing love to our guests.

John Piper said,

“You have a body to make God look good.”

When it comes to hospitality, I like to replace the word body with home. The purpose of our home should be to make God look good. Because He is good and our purpose in this life is to bring Him glory while being the light to those we come in contact with.

If managing your home seems like exhausting and useless work for you, please visit my blog Parenting with Humility and read my new post, When Managing Your Home Seems Like a Wasted Life. I hope that it will encourage you to glorify God with the unnoticed, unpaid work involved in homemaking.

How do you respond when you have an unexpected visitor?

I encourage you to invite them in to sit. Ask them if they would like a drink and carry on as if Jesus himself was there to visit you.

 

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Comments

  1. Bel says:

    I love how God is teaching this to me. I have neighbours who do surprise visits. My housemate unexpectedly invites people over. Even without kids, the place naturally gets messy every day. Yes, you’re right… it is about God, not about our ability to have the perfect home.

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