Pandemic restrictions are slowly easing where I live, and we can now invite guests into our home. Although the number of guests is limited, this change brings hope that life will someday return to normal.
Normal, for me, is opening my door to friends, family, and strangers. The more, the merrier—thanks to my mom’s example. When Sundays came, she always asked friends or family to join us for faspa—a traditional European meal consisting of fresh rolls and jam, deli meats and cheeses, dill pickles, and a sweet. When missionaries visited our church and needed accommodation, Mom volunteered to host. When her brother nineteen years younger needed a place to live for two months, she welcomed him with open arms.
Is it any wonder my first apartment resembled a drop-in center? I mentored high school girls living at a boarding school, so I’d invite a dozen for dinner every Friday and serve soup, salad, and freshly baked bread. They loved the homecooked meal, and I loved seeing the joy on their faces.
Over time, however, I fell into the comparison trap. Playing hostess became a subconscious attempt to prove myself. Remember the Bible story about sisters Mary and Martha? Well, I morphed into Martha. I became the woman who—by choice—prepared a banquet and then complained about my workload. I’m sure Jesus had me in mind when He said, “Martha, Martha… you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)
One afternoon while reading “Open Heart, Open Home,” I learned that entertaining seeks to impress; hospitality seeks to serve. Entertaining focuses on self; hospitality focuses on others. These truths led me to an aha moment: Despite good intentions, my need for affirmation from others trumped my love for others. How contrary to the attitude Jesus demonstrated!
Jesus came to earth to focus on our needs rather than His own. He never sought to impress, but He always sought to serve. (Philippians 2) His only motivation for doing what He did was love—love for His Father and for us.
Love is the one thing that matters, and practicing hospitality is an effective way to demonstrate it. Now, more than ever, seems the perfect time. People around us are starved for relationship after isolation. Opening our homes and hearts provides the means to create meaningful connections.
So, go ahead—ask God to tell you who needs an invitation. Don’t become a Martha like I did. Prepare a simple meal, and don’t worry about your house not being immaculate. Just love your guests. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
I live on a sailboat in a marina. Pre-pandemic, I hosted several come-and-go Saturday morning coffee times complete with muffins. Our unbelieving neighbors came, ate, and talked. My husband and I listened. Hospitality established trust, and we’ve had several spiritual conversations since. As life returns to normalcy, I look forward to more opportunities to share God’s love by welcoming our neighbors aboard.
How about you? What’s one thing you can do to share love through hospitality?
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About the Author:
Grace Fox is a career global worker and the author of ten books including the award-winning “Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos.” She’s a member of the “First 5” Bible study writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a regular contributor to Guideposts’ annual devotional, “Mornings with Jesus.”
Grace and her husband Gene co-direct International Messengers Canada, a sending agency with career missionaries in 29 countries. She leads short-term mission teams to Eastern Europe annually, trains nationals for career ministry in the Middle East, and provides missionary care.
Grace lives aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia. Married in 1982, she and Gene celebrate three grown kids and eleven grandchildren.
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