This whole notion of “radical hospitality” seems to be something God wants me to hear because it has been brought to my attention in many ways over the past few weeks.
In the previous family sermon series, I heard about the importance of spending time around the family table and about the message that is communicated when you invite someone to sit in your living room.
Our small group just completed the Max Lucado study, “Outlive Your Life,” and this theme of radical hospitality seemed to still be pulling at me. Lucado reminded us of how in the beginning, the gospel was shared from home to home, and we were asked, “Is the gospel being shared from your home?” Lucado also gave us a lesson in Latin as he wrote: “Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community. It’s no accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word, for they both lead to the same result: healing. When you open your door to someone, you are sending this message: ‘You matter to me and to God.’ You may think you are saying, ‘Come over for a visit.’ But what your guest hears is, ‘I’m worth the effort.’”
So, I decided I wanted to be more intentional about my hospitality. I used to do much better at this, but it seems life gets busy and I let that hospitality wane. I am sure part of that reason stems from my “Martha” syndrome…so much to prepare and get done…are the ceiling fans dusted? Is the tablecloth pressed? None-the-less, I was ready to try. Once a month, I would invite someone new from our church family over for dinner. Ok, I thought; I’m listening; I’m being obedient.
Ha! God can have such a sense of humor! I pick up the church newsletter and there staring back at me is Pastor’s Lenten challenge: eat one meal a week with someone new from our church family. Once a week – did I read that right? But…since I tend to have somewhat of a competitive nature, I responded, “Ok, game on!
Then last night I attended Ash Wednesday services, and Pastor said that each of us should decide for ourselves what we will relinquish this Lenten season. So I put it to prayer, and I still thinking about this notion of radical hospitality and how God is really laying this upon my heart. I talked it over with my husband this morning, and we agreed: for the next 40 days, we are giving up going out: no going to the theater, no dinner out with friends.
Instead, we will begin our practice of radical hospitality. We will invite people into our home for food and fellowship. Maybe I will use the “good” dishes; maybe we’ll roast hotdogs around a fire. Who knows! I remember reading once about how someone would even enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…if someone else made it for them!
I’m not exactly sure what the next 40 days will bring, but I am going to do my best at practicing radical hospitality.
I am looking forward to the conversations around the dinner table. I am looking forward to making new friends, and I am looking forward to letting our guests hear through our actions, “You are worth the effort.”
So, do you want to join us for dinner? Pull up a chair and let’s talk!