Read Romans 12
The other day, my husband asked an innocent question. Should we invite friends over for dinner. I was 3pm. I glanced around my house. counted to ten, then counted again.
My house doesn’t always look like a tornado blew through, but at 3:00 on a Friday, it definitely sports that lived-in look. And the idea of inviting company over to see the mayhem makes me shudder.
I can come up with several reasons the proposition seemed ridiculous, but they all boil down to one: what will people think of me?!
Recently, we were guests in the home of some new friends. We popped into town on a Monday and inserted ourselves into their lives with little time for preparation. They were gracious enough to welcome us with enthusiasm, even as she made up the dinner menu in the car on our way there. When we entered their home, it was to dishes in the sink and toys on the floor.
Had I been in her shoes, I would have suggested eating out. But we were instead welcomed into real life.
I don’t know about you, but I somewhat enjoy doing someone else’s dishes. And it doesn’t seem like so much work when there are four people laughing, talking, prepping and cleaning in one small kitchen. It felt like a way more fun version of home. Comfortable. Easy. No pretence, or facades, just easy cooperation.
And AMAZING food!
And do you know what I thought of her?I want to be more like that. What a gracious hostess to open her home without warning and treat us like family.
In Romans, Paul suggests putting love into action through sincerity: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Practice hospitality. Interesting way to put that, isn’t it? Practicing something like hospitality. Sometimes we need to lower our standards. The spirit of hospitality is more important than the immaculateness of the host home. Sometimes we need to raise our standards a bit. Just because we all have dirty laundry doesn’t mean it needs to be out for the world to see.
Above all, “Honor one another above yourself.”
Perfect housekeeping is not the goal here. If we allow ourselves to wonder “what will they think?” we are putting ourselves, our vanity and pride above others, and that is NOT being hospitable.
There’s nothing wrong with being Martha Stewart (unless it comes to the stock market), as long as our hearts are to serve, not to receive praise.
I’m trying my best to freak out less at letting people see my real life, but it’s going to take some practice. Good thing practice makes perfect.