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
Director of Youth & Young Adults