“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” —Hebrews 13:16
Some of us, when we think of offering hospitality, we immediately consider the financial cost. With the rise of housing costs and grocery inflation, we can feel deterred from practicing hospitality because we may have the impression that we need the perfect home and delicious food to properly extend hospitality.
There was one couple that wanted to practice hospitality but she did not know how to cook. She asked a friend to teach her how to make one simple dish and she learned how to make lasagna. She made lasagna every Sunday and served it alongside a loaf of French bread and a slab of butter to people that she invited to her home. When another couple, who felt they did not have room in their budget to practice hospitality, heard what this couple was doing, they found this strategy helped relieve the cost, tension and preparation fatigue.
Nonetheless, there are still costs to hospitality that are not monetary. One of them is the time that we take to practice hospitality. Time is far more valuable than money; we can beg for money, borrow money, make money or even steal money, but we cannot do that with time. We are all busy, but this begs the question, are we busy with things that are eternally significant or things that have purely temporal significance? How we spend our time is absolutely crucial. We will never stop being busy, but we do have control over what we will be busy with.
The other cost of hospitality is our attitude towards the things that we possess in our home. The late theological professor Howard Hendricks shared a story about having a swing set for kids in his backyard and underneath the swing set were two deep grooves where kids dragged their feet. His neighbours had beautiful grass with no grooves in it and this led him and his wife to ask the question, “Are we going to raise children or are we going to raise grass?” Whatever our answer is to that question will reveal our attitude towards our home. When we redecorate or get furnishings, we need to ask ourselves why. Is this for display, entertainment or hospitality? Are we going to love things and use people to get them or are we going to use things to love people? Are we creating a welcoming and warm environment or are we creating this pristine “look but do not touch” environment?
The cost of hospitality will challenge our use of time and attitude towards the things we have. At the core, practicing hospitality is an issue of the heart and not what we have or do not have.
Dear God, search my heart for any excuses that I make to not practice hospitality. Open my heart with generosity to bless others through hospitality.