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Wise Women Living 3-Part Series: How to Prepare for Guests–The Heart of Hospitality

We’re heading into the cozy season, known for warm drinks, soft blankets and gathering closely with loved ones.

It’s full of opportunities to open our homes and enjoy one another’s company, strengthen friendships and make beautiful memories.

But friends, if we truly desire to make the most of our time together and display God’s love through biblical hospitality, we must be prepared.

So, that’s the purpose of this 3-Part Wise Women Living series on Being Hospitable.

There are many practical ways we can prepare for guests (and we’ll look at those later on) but today I want to focus on the most important and perhaps most overlooked thing we, as women, need to get ready before we receive others into our homes—our hearts.

Many are the lessons the Lord has taught me throughout the years as He has grown me in my understanding and practice of His hospitality, but this has been the greatest.

When Jonathan & I married, I very much was a newbie in hospitality and had many erroneous ideas.

Some of my thoughts were: “I can’t be hospitable because…”

  • “…I can’t cook well.”
  • “…our apartment is too small.”
  • “…we hardly have enough money to pay our own bills much less offer a nice dinner to others.”

Thankfully, the Lord taught me these things have nothing to do with whether or not I can open our door to those around us.

But before getting into ways of how to prepare our hearts, there’s something that absolutely essential that we ladies need to understand…

Hospitality is not the same as entertaining.

Since I don’t think I could say it any better, I’d like to share 2 quotes from Jen Schmidt in her book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation.

Hospitality, unlike entertaining, treats everyone as a guest of honor rather than grasping at honor for yourself. Opening your door has nothing to do with the actual setting, the guest list, or the food. The atmosphere can be exactly the same yet have very different results based on the heart attitude of the one who welcomes. Status-seeking versus servanthood. “Here I am” versus “here you are.” Self-serving to serving others.

Jen Schmidt, Just Open the Door
Biblical hospitality offers our best to Him first, understanding that our best to others will then fall into place...[it] is about freely giving of ourselves while granting others the freedom to be themselves.
Jen Schmidt, Just Open the Door

For me, it still can be a battle at times to not fall back into wanting to entertain, because by nature I’m not a servant, I’m self-seeking.

So what to do in these moments?…

Meditate on God’s Hospitality to Us.

My lovely friend, if you are a Christian, you have experienced the gracious hospitality of the King of the Universe. And it is His hospitality–His love shown in action, His welcome—that we are called to imitate.

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children."
Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV)

Discovering the depth of His hospitality towards us takes more than a lifetime, so we are simply going to skim the surface.

We Can Imitate:

  1. His Invitation
  2. His Character
  3. His Actions
  4. His Heart

#1 Imitate His Invitation

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

The beautiful thing about Jesus’ invitation is He doesn’t just welcome those who are “cleaned up” and well-respected in society. Because of this, the religious leaders accused Him of being a “Friend of sinners” because He ate with the outcasts of society–the weary, the poor and the ones with a bad reputation.

Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.  
Mark 2:15 (NKJV) [emphasis added]
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  
Matthew 11:28 (NKJV) [emphasis added]

If we want our invitation to reflect Christ’s, we must not distance ourselves from others in need.

Home should be a place that brings peace & comfort to those who enter and especially those who are broken & hurting.

Kennesha Buycks, Restoration House

So, are you a friend of “sinners” or just those who appear beautiful on the outside?

Because the ugly & lovely truth is that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) yet God lovingly extends His invitation to dine with Him to each one of us. May we be women who do the same.

#2. Imitate His Character

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men...He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:3-8 (NKJV)

*Jesus humbly came not to be served, but to serve.

 the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. 
Matthew 20:25-28 (NKJV)

#3. Imitate His Actions

*The love of God isn’t a simple feeling or thought, but is defined by sacrificial actions.

"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:28 (NKJV) [emphasis added]

Christ gave all of Himself freely, we are called to to the same.

*God’s love wasn’t given to those who loved Him back or those who could repay Him.

"But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8 (NKJV) [emphasis added]
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God..."
Romans 5:6-7 (NKJV) [emphasis added]
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, who He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Titus 3:3-7 (NKJV)

*He welcomes us into his family and gives us more than we deserve–He gives the best.

Each one of us, as sinners, deserve death and eternal punishment & separation from God, but God is kind, gracious, merciful and generously offers us the best–the opportunity to turn from our sins, have a relationship with Him as part of His family and to dwell forever with Him one day.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV) [emphasis added]
But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name...
John 1:12 (NKJV) [emphasis added]
In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you many be also.  
John 14:2-3 (NKJV)

#4. Imitate His Heart

As you prepare for this season, whether you will be receiving guests or are the guest of honor, meditate on God’s hospitality toward you.

My we be wise hostesses (and guests) as we Imitate His: Invitation, Character, Actions & Heart. Trust in His strength and wisdom when you are lacking. He is enough.

God doesn’t just let us in, He calls us to come in. And because on the cross Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath that you and I deserve for our sins, we now have an invitation to come dine with Him. And although the price was costly for the door to be opened to Him (His very life), because He is alive again it offered to us as a free gift.

Jesus is calling you to “Come”.
...Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy...without money and without price.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.  Incline your ear and come to Me.  Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you...
...Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-7

If you’ve never experienced the hospitality of your Creator, accept His invitation today, while you have the opportunity. Repent of your sins, place your trust in Him as the Risen Lord and experience His warm & eternal welcome into His family as His daughter. It’s the best invitation you could ever receive.

Love, Lauri

Want to dig deeper into hospitality?

Read the other articles in this series: Part 2 & Part 3(Includes a Free, Printable Hospitality Planning Guide & Tips). And check out these other Wise Women Living Articles: What is a Homemaker? You Might be Surprised! & 12 Ways to Show God’s Love to Others.

Blessings!

And as always,

Be Kind. Be Encouraging. Be a Multiplier!

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