Why Hospitality?

Originally published in Refresh on October 28, 2015

Honestly, few things make my heart flutter like the sight of a well-placed table setting. I am talking about Martha-Stewart-would-be-proud details and decoration. I love spending hours preparing and hosting dinner parties. My favorite is when friends and guests visit my house and feel at home. I grew up seeing both my parents be incredible hosts, so being hospitable comes natural to me. Hospitality is my gift; and when I operate in that gifting is when I feel closest to the heart of God. Yes, I feel extra close to God while folding cloth napkins into pretty bows and serving cake; it is a wonderful thing.

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I have had the opportunity to turn this passion into a career, yet quickly learned that some parts of the job are not quite as popular. While my heart was full with a job well done, my mind entertained pride.

I have more important things to do. I am an honors college graduate; making coffee, and all of the other grunt work that comes with setting up events, is what interns are for. Did anyone not notice how good I am in the other {more glamorous} part of my job? This is embarrassing.

Sometimes we make the mistake of operating in our gifts for the approval of man, and not out of obedience and stewardship of the grace of God in our lives. In order to perform our duties, we begin to depend on the praises of those we are meant to serve, instead of developing a genuine love for one another. Specifically in regards to hospitality, it is very tempting to think that we need to offer the nicest things and display them perfectly so they are well received; and if we’re honest, so they make us look good.

I do not have enough fingers on my hands to count the number of times I have visited families, in the most humble parts of my native Dominican Republic, to find some of the most giving and welcoming people. They will joyfully share the little they have, many times part of their only meal for the day. The warmth in their smiles and genuine hearts to serve always touched the deepest parts of my soul. True hospitality is more than just silverware and teacups; it is birthed out of a spirit of excellence and a heart of generosity. Surely, it is a wonderful thing for our gatherings to look like live Pinterest boards. Excellence is a biblical principal and can be found in various scriptures. In Proverbs 22:29 we read, “ Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” A spirit of excellence is so powerful; it opens doors and brings favor. But more importantly, in this case, it must be met with a heart full of generosity; a love that runs so deep, it is a reflection of our Abba Father.

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When we are hospitable, we have the opportunity to love others well; to create an atmosphere that shows those we have invited they are special and worthy. As we spend time with Jesus, receiving His hospitality towards us, we are filled to pour unto others the overflow of what we have received from Him. There is always a cost, whether financial or that of time. However, I have found that in the end, the Lord has always blessed me more than I expected to bless those I have invited. We are all closest to Him, when we are most like Him; and there is no greater reward.

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