I love people. I love having company. I love playing hostess. I love to cook. I love the idea of breaking bread together and having great conversation. I love all of the aforementioned….when it is convenient. I struggle with being hospitable when I have to change my plans, when I am not prepared, tired, or quite honestly I just don’t feel like it. I don’t like to be inconvenienced. But the Lord is challenging me to be hospitable even when the stage of perfection is removed and there is no home cooked meal to make me look good, no tidy house, and a tired hostess. True hospitality is recognizing a need and being so connected to God that I am willing to meet it regardless of the inconvenience. True hospitality is not about me as the hostess looking good. It is more about me glorifying Jesus through my actions, through my willingness to hit pause with my schedule to meet your needs. It is a tall order I know, but Jesus never requires anything of me that He himself has not modeled. He sets the bar high but it is totally attainable by His grace and my willingness to yield. I am also learning that hospitality goes beyond the four walls of my home.
Luke 9: 10-17 speaks of how Jesus was trying to slip away quietly with His disciples who had just returned from doing ministry but the crowds followed Him. The part that blew me away and convicted me was verse 11. It says the crowd found and followed him AND HE WELCOMED THEM. Not only did He welcome them but He taught them and healed those who were sick. Wow and double wow. It is in this same passage that Jesus does the miracle of feeding the five thousand. After Jesus was done teaching and healing, the disciples who were no doubt exhausted from their ministry efforts told Jesus,” Let us wrap this party up. We don’t have any food. It is late and we are tired. Send them to the nearby towns and villages to handle their own needs. After all, they should be good with all the ministering that you just did.” But Jesus, my Jesus pushes the envelope and responds, “No I am not going to send them away, YOU FEED THEM!” WHAT?! The disciples responded to Jesus, “Umm Jesus that is kind of impossible, we don’t have enough for this massive crowd, all we have is five loaves and two fish and there is five thousand men.”
I know my response would have been like the disciples. However Jesus’ willingness to show hospitability opened the door for His father to multiply the little He had so that the needs of the multitude was met. Amazing! Not only did they have enough but there were left overs. Yes my God is an exceedingly abundantly type of God!
I want to be an instrument in the hands of my Father. I want to be aware that when I am willing to be hospitable (even when it is inconvenient) that God can work a miracle in the lives of those that I extend myself to. Again, remember hospitability is not limited to the four walls of your home. Perhaps Jesus is asking you to pause to minister to that person you meet in the grocery store because they are in need of a miracle and they need to see Jesus. Maybe you need to abandon the idea of waiting until your house looks perfect before you invite that individual the Lord has laid on your heart over to dinner. Maybe your lack of finances is an issue, have you considered praying and asking the Lord to multiply the little you have to meet the needs of others? Do you struggle with being hospitable when it is inconvenient? Leave a comment and let me know.
About the Author
Anika Jones is a speaker and author of the book Lessons Learned Along The Way: A 40 Day Devotional. She blogs about faith and family at LivingForLater.com and posts weekly videos on her YouTube channels, Living For Later (@livingforlater) and Living Life Now (@livinglifenow). Anika loves speaking about developing intimacy with God and understanding who we are in Christ. She serves alongside her husband in ministry. They live in Illinois with their 6 children.