Monday, August 22, 2011

Practice Hospitality

"Contribute to the needs of God's people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality."  Romans 12:13 (AMP)

This is something that has really been on my mind for a while. For a long while.  Once upon a time, we felt we were doing a good job of practicing hospitality.  We were in a season where we were hosting a small Bible study group one day a week, every week- including a full meal with the study.  We enjoyed it each and every week, and when that season abruptly ended for us, we began to wonder how we were to practice hospitality.  One of the problems at that specific time was that God was clearly moving our circle of influence, and we were living a good 25 miles away from the center of our new circle.  And then we moved.

When we moved in, it was very, very clear to us that one of the reasons God brought us to this specific house was for the purpose of hospitality.  We envisioned plenty of dinner parties, gatherings, and we also had something new here: plenty of room to shelter overnight guests.  We were excited, and over the last year, when we've had time, we have taken full advantage of inviting anybody and everybody to spend time with us.  The one area that has continued to puzzle us though is the full out hospitality, which to us means overnight guests.  Every time we've made the offer to someone to stay here in our home, we've been turned down for various reasons.  I certainly wouldn't say that we've been disappointed by all of that, but it has been puzzling, because as certain as I know that my eyes are blue, I know that God wanted us to offer our home for overnight company.

So what's the deal?  Well, I was talking to God about that at the beginning of summer.  And as you all should know by now, when God and I talk, He doesn't seem to waste much time in putting our talks into action.   My extended family had a reunion this summer, and one of my cousins and his family needed a place to stay for the weekend.  We hoped into action, offered them a place to stay, and we all had a wonderful weekend.  They were very grateful for the landing space during the busy weekend, and overall, WE were pleased with how the logistics of putting a family in our home worked out.  And you know what I did after that?  I told God our trial run went very well, and He should bring it on.

And is He ever!  Next week, we will be hosting, in our  home, some people we've never who are coming to town to look at a college.  I'm kind of excited about it, because while we've never met these people, they are kindred spirits.  They are a homeschooling, Christian family, and I'm really looking forward to meeting them and getting to spend time blessing them on their college hunt. 

The thing is, late Saturday night, Andy and I got around to discussing this family coming, and he mentioned that he couldn't help but think that we were supposed to do more of this type of thing.  Specifically, our discussion turned to the area of the conferences our church hosts.  There are plenty of people who come from out of town and spend the weekend in a hotel, and we've often (lightly) mentioned that it would be nice to be able to offer someone a place to stay.  Except that we are very, very busy during that time, and while we would be able to offer a place to sleep, we wouldn't be able to entertain or even offer a meal beyond breakfast.  There were other issues as well.  One being, that when we have company, Andy and I give up our room and move to the basement where we sleep on an air mattress.  Only I don't sleep well on that mattress AT ALL.  And at conference time, I get so little sleep, that when I do get to go to bed, an air mattress is not going to be beneficial. 

I mentioned this to Andy, and casually said that if we were to do this- offer up our home on a regular basis- we would have to look into getting a futon or pull out sofa bed to put in the basement and really make a nice guest room.  And while we were talking, we were sitting at the computers, so I thought I'd just go onto Craigslist and see what used furniture of that type is going for.  I expected several hundred dollars, though with it being "going to college" season, thought maybe we'd find a deal.  And there, just listed 20 minuted prior was a sleeper sofa, located nearby, and he only wanted thirty bucks for it.  Seriously.  Andy and a friend went and got it yesterday.  It needs just a little, minor TLC, but otherwise it's in very nice condition, and it's comfortable.

You know, when God wants you to do something, and you're open to the doing of it, He will make a way for it every single time. And yet, even though I know this- I know this and believe it with all my heart- I am amazed at how EASY He makes things happen.  When you make yourselves willing to His purposes, He will always make the way to accomplish that purpose. 

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