Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Guest Ready Line

Offering hospitality to others calls us to fall into line with a host of others who fill the pages of scripture. I love the story of Abigail in the Old Testament, who was ready and prepared to offer hospitality when David and his men came unexpectedly. And in the New Testament, the business woman Lydia opened her home to Paul and his companions as they began a new church. Women like these have offered me a welcome by giving me their only chair, their best rice, the meat of the meal, bottled water they sacrificed to buy, or a fan to sit beside. It's actually really humbling to realize we are being served by the sacrifices of another. We are called to be hospitable to strangers and to fellow believers:

Hebrews 13:2 ~ 2Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

3 John 1 ~ 5Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.

If I plan ahead to have the framework of hospitality in place, then I am free to offer my home to others and to offer them my attention and care. Sometimes I do this better than other times, but here is my list of "tiny touches" that can be in place to make having people in my home (It's not really just "entertaining," is it?) a pleasure:

  • a candle in key rooms where guests are: living room, kitchen, guest room, restroom
  • snacks and/or water in the guest bed room
  • coffee ready (not fancy, but the best I have)
  • music they can play in the guest room
  • tissues in the guest room
  • a card in the guest room to say "Welcome" with their name on it (Use a place card holder or a frame. My mother-in-law used blocks in a frame to spell it out for us. You can even write on the bathroom mirror.)
  • Reading material they'll enjoy on the nightstand
  • an extra blanket for the bed or lap in their room
  • a decorative night light and a light on in the bedroom when they arrive
  • a suitcase stand is a plus ... I don't have one, so I've used a small table sometimes
  • an outdoor "welcome" like the one in the picture below
  • a guest book to invite my guests to sign

  • I've had the privilege of hosting guests in an apartment, camper, cabin, home, guest house, hotel, and more. I've hosted people in tiny spaces with limited "stuff" and a tight budget. I've learned that how much I spend and how it looks isn't what matters most. Your list of special touches may be very different than mine. Whatever we have, when we give our best to shower God's love on the people He brings to our "home"(wherever that happens to be), it helps them experience God's gift of His peace for them there. There are times when I've done a better job of this than others, but I've learned there's a lot to be said for being "guest ready."

    I've been so blessed by the Wanda's in my life (See yesterday's post), and I want to stand with Abigail and Lydia and Wanda in the "guest ready" line.

    Have you been blessed when you were a guest?

    3 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

    Kristi said...

    I love your list of ideas! As I mentioned in your blogger spotlight, you really modeled true hospitality to me, and I learned so much from watching you!

    I think it's helpful to distinguish "entertaining" from hospitality. Martha Stewart may be the ideal entertainer, but that doesn't make her Biblically hospitable. I think a huge part of hospitality is authentically opening your life to someone else and making people feel welcome, even when there's dirty laundry in the corner or my kitchen is a wreck!

    I've appreciated hospitality from people who have clearly anticipated the needs of my children, as well. The kids have "pretend grandparents" in Canton who are old friends of Nate's family - they have extra kid cups, plates, and even a toothbrush at their house for our children... not to mention that they set up their old crib and bought coordinating bedding just so that they would have a place to sleep at their house! They have had a real ministry to us since our families are out of state, and we have deeply appreciated it! :)

    Sorry for the book of a comment...

    Jullie said...

    I love your "book of a comment," as you say, :) and those are really excellent ideas from the "pretend grandparents". Thanks for sharing! So true about the modern Martha and Biblical hospitality. With all of the ideal ideas we can see on tv, etc, it really helps to remember that.

    Courtney said...

    I really enjoy this series. I do not have a guest room - but you make me dream of having one!