Category Archives: March 2022 Chips

The Math Supports Hospitality

The Math Supports Hospitality

Once again I am challenged with contemplating the importance of hospitality and I encounter my own stinginess as a result.  I love what John Piper says about the power of hospitality:

“When we practice hospitality, we experience the thrill of feeling God’s power conquer our fears and our stinginess and all the psychological gravity of our self-centeredness. And there are few joys, if any, greater than the joy of experiencing the liberating power of God’s hospitality making us a new and radically different kind of people, who live to reflect the glory of his grace as we extend it to others in all kinds of hospitality.”

“The psychological gravity of our self-centeredness” really hits home with me. It seems like all my hesitancy toward hospitality is me-centered.  ‘I don’t have the energy.’ ‘I am too busy.’ ‘My life/house is too messy.’ These are all me-centered excuses.  Now, let’s consider the joy and freedom we feel in practicing and receiving hospitality. What were some of your best moments in the past three months?  I am willing to bet they had some element of hospitality. Maybe your Christmas gathering with family, where you either shared or received hospitality.  Maybe the game night you had with family friends.  I loved the Super Bowl party we had here at church.  We shared games, food, conversation, and even some football!  That party brought such joy to me and my family.  In January, our leadership shared a couple of meals together as part of our weekend-long retreat.  The conversations I was able to have, the opportunity to build and renew relationships, was all possible because of the hospitality we received during the retreat.

To quantify this and illustrate it I want to ask, “How long did it take you to read this article?”  Maybe two minutes?!  Think about all the two-minute conversations you have with neighbors, coworkers, family, and church family.  I think I may have 20 different two-minute conversations on any given Sunday.  Now imagine I invite you to my house for supper.  How much time will we have together?  60-90 minutes at least!  Wow! That amount of relationship-building time is equivalent to 30-45 two-minute conversations!  The math:

1 X 90-minute meal = 45 X 2-minute conversations

That is why ‘conquering our fears and our stinginess’ and practicing hospitality is worth it.  One supper or game-night is worth 45 chance conversations with that neighbor, friend, or family member.  God also honors the sacrifice we make when we get out of our comfort zone. We show we care by offering hospitality and God does the work of healing people’s hearts (including our own).

“…we do the caring and Jesus does the healing” – Dustin Willis

Steve Poole
Director of Youth & Young Adults

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    Hospitality and Prayer

    Hospitality and Prayer

    What would it look like to be both a prayerful and a hospitable people? Both prayer and hospitality are concrete examples of the greatest commandment, to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.

    Both prayer and hospitality are open and attentive activities.

    Prayer and hospitality mean openness to what guests and strangers bring to us. We receive a revelation from the guest which can change us and enrich our lives and open us to new possibilities and ways of thinking and living.

    Openness makes us welcoming to God and others in our prayer and prayerful in our hospitality. There’s no recipe it just takes practice. The natural posture of an upturned hand relaxed tends towards a fist. There is effort required for it to be opened. There is effort required to be openhanded towards God and to be openhanded towards others. It takes intentionality to nurture intimacy and ongoing dialogue with God, to learn when and how He wants us to respond to a need or a cry.

    Prayer and hospitality also imply attentiveness to the other and to the needs of others, even anticipating their needs. We have to get out of ourselves and become interested in others.

    Often our lack of hospitality is simply the failure to notice and acknowledge others and their needs, the needs of the larger world and the needs of those closest to us. Jesus models attentiveness. He noticed the sick, the excluded, the hungry, those that others passed by.  As we contemplate the ministry of Jesus, we are called to heighten our awareness of others so that we can carry on the ministry of Jesus.

    It’s true that our world is in a constant state of emergency. Jesus responded to crises by healing, feeding, and raising the dead, but the life of Jesus was also a lifelong conversation with His Father. His prayer and hospitality were connected. We are called to practice openness and attentiveness through the disciplines of prayer and hospitality.

    When Jesus becomes more and more welcomed into the conversation of our thoughts and time is set aside for openness to God in prayer, we’ll feel freer to be hospitable in heart and deed.

    Again, there is no recipe here. Learn from Him. Make mistakes. Go back to Him again. Walk with Him through the day, and ask Him to point out His way and direction. Listen, talk, share, and most of all “welcome.”

    Gary Sager
    Ambassador of Care

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