Saturday night was the highlight of our weekend. It was our first of many "on purpose and with a purpose" hospitality dinners. From left to right... that's me in black and my husband Mike... Fred and Frances who are in our home group... and Jack and Darlene who we truly enjoyed getting to know... they had us captivated with their stories of living in China.
Michael and I have never been afraid of inviting people into our home. Over the years, we have had a numerous guests for dinner as well as a number of people live with us for days and even months, depending on their needs. For the past five years we've hosted a home group with as many as twelve couples from our church coming together for dinner, fellowship and prayer twice a month. Occasionally we would invite other people to dinner but not often, always using our busy lives as an acceptable excuse.
Just before Christmas, as I was reading in Romans and pondering the list of "godly principles for Christian living" found in chapter 12, verses 9-21... verse 13 just jumped off the page and planted itself in my heart... "practice hospitality." There was no room for excuses or arguments. It was God calling me... Michael and I... to give ourselves and our time in a greater way through intentional hospitality... opening our hearts and our home on purpose and with a purpose. As I continued to pray about this and what it was to look like and how it was to fit into our busy lives, I was convinced that this call was not just about us and so we shared this vision with our home group... of purposely opening our hearts and homes to people in our church who we do not know or don't know well. The initial response was enthusiasm tempered by feelings of inadequacy, concerns over time, and fear of not knowing who to invite. But by realizing that our home group has the potential to build community within our local church by impacting the lives of sixty other people over the next ten months, fear gave way to faith and a desire to learn more about having a heart of hospitality.
I will share more about our journey in this new adventure with you over the next few months with the hope that you too will take up the banner of hospitality and hang it over your doorpost in the days and weeks and months to come. I believe this call is not only to Michael and I or to our home group but to the body of Christ as a whole. Hospitality is not about entertaining or being Martha Stewart... it's about loving one another with the heart of God. Bottom line, we need each other... and as the day of the Lord draws close, even more so!
So please... be encouraged today to ask God who He would have you invite to dinner... who in your church or neighborhood needs some intentional, on purpose and with a purpose hospitality. If it is your habit to do so anyway... bravo! If it is not... take that step of faith and God will meet you there... in fact, He longs to be the unseen guest at your dinner!