Hospitality: Adjusting our attitude

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This post is part of the series Hospitality

Other posts in this series:

  1. The Secret to Great Hospitality
  2. Hospitality: Adjusting our attitude (Current)
  3. Hospitality: Healing, changing, and setting boundaries

In our first post, I shared that the secret to great hospitality is attitude. I also briefly touched on our modern obsession with digital media and the new form of “keeping up with the Joneses” via Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or whatever medium you frequently use.

Today we are going to delve a little deeper into the concept of hospitality and, specifically, adjusting our attitude. Even if you are not an outgoing person, the mere idea of hosting makes you nervous, or you are fairly certain that hospitality is not one of your spiritual gifts, you can still nurture the spirit of hospitality in your heart and home.

You might be wondering: Why? Why should you put the effort into this if it does not come naturally to you?

Because, according to 1 Peter 4:8-9, hospitality — or “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers” (Dictionary.com)is part of our Christian duty. Let’s read it together: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

If you find yourself viewing hospitality through a negative lens, then it is time to re-evaluate your understanding of what hospitality is and ask the Lord to help you nurture the correct attitude.

This is where the Christian view of hospitality differs from the type of hospitality that we often find on Pinterest, Instagram, other social media, and the glossy grocery store magazines. The worldly concept of hospitality is all about the hosting, the entertaining, the showing off. Sometimes it may be done for the right reasons, but it is easily sidetracked by sinful nature into becoming a method of self-exaltation. Like King Nebuchadnezzar overlooking his magnificent palace, gardens, and city, the temptation to take the credit and the glory can be very strong. (See Daniel 4:28-33.)

Biblical hospitality — or perhaps it is better to call it godly hospitality — is the complete opposite. It is motivated by a sense of love for those around us and a genuine desire to show kindness and warmth in whatever capacity we are able. It is a selflessness that comes, not from ourselves, but through the Holy Spirit working in our hearts to do His will, even if it is tiring or does not turn out how we expect.

Especially when it does not come naturally to us.

Colossians 3:23-24 reminds us: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Godly hospitality is motivated by a sense of love for those around us and a genuine desire to show kindness and warmth in whatever capacity we are able. Click To Tweet

If you find yourself struggling with perfectionism, social anxiety, the scars of a past hosting disaster, or any other fear in regards to hospitality, perhaps you need to ask yourself one simple question: What is my motivation? Perhaps you need to adjust your attitude, your mindset, and come to a realization that hospitality is not about you. Genuine, godly hospitality is about serving and blessing others.

An often quoted passage on the subject of hospitality is Hebrews 13:1-2. “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

This is a reference back to the account in Genesis 18 where Abraham demonstrated hospitality to three men who at first appeared to be regular travelers. He warmly greeted the men and provided them with comforts that would have been very welcomed to weary travelers: the dust to be washed from their feet, to rest comfortably, and to partake in a delicious meal cooked by his wife Sarah. It was only afterward that Abraham learned they were actually angels in disguise, been sent by the Lord with an important message.

While we may never know this side of heaven if someone we welcome into our homes and hearts is an angel in disguise, we can be a messenger of God’s love to others by demonstrating the spirit of hospitality to those the Lord brings into our lives.

It is not always easy. We have bad days, a grumpy attitude, arephysically or mentally exhausted, feel stressed out, maybe short on time, or just plain preoccupied with getting through our daily lives… It may take a humbling of ourselves before the Lord, but let us adjust our attitude and correct our understanding of true hospitality.

At the very heart of things, the entire purpose of being hospitable is so those around us will see a reflection of Christ through our words and actions.

May the Lord bless you with a home filled with joy, love, and laughter.

Application

  1. Search the Scriptures to find one example of hospitality from both the Old and New Testaments. How are they similar? How do they differ? What can you learn from these examples?
  2. The Bible says that Jesus is our example (John 13:15). What was His attitude towards hospitality? What was the attitude of His disciples? Did their understanding grow and mature as they walked with Christ?
  3. In a journal, jot down little ways you can start to nurture and demonstrate the spirit of hospitality in your life.

Join the discussion

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. In the comments below, share your hospitality triumphs and failures, your excitement and anxiety.

Next time

Join us next time as we continue our Hospitality series. We will discuss in more detail the practicality of genuine hospitality, how to let go of negative experiences or perfectionist ideas, and setting proper boundaries.

Photo by Nick Grant on Unsplash.

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3 Replies to “Hospitality: Adjusting our attitude”

  1. Thank you for this! I’ve really enjoyed the last two posts, and am looking forward to the next ones!
    My husband is a pastor, so you can imagine that we have a lot of people come through our house. When we first got married, hospitality was a struggle for me. Yes, I would’ve told you that I liked hosting, but I found myself stressing over what to make, how clean the house was, how many were coming, and whether or not I had a few days ahead of time to plan. God has really helped me to refocus my attention over the last few years to where it should be! Now, I truly love hosting, even on a short notice. I still have growing to do, but adjusting our attitude is SO important! <3

    1. Wow! You definitely have a unique experience when it comes to hospitality and hosting! The wives of pastors have to deal with a level of pressure and expectations that not many others understand or appreciate. God bless you!

      Do you mind if I ask you a question? If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is terrified of short-notice guests, what would it be?

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