How We are an Invitation

{By Diane Bailey}

 

The hour had grown late for me, and when the last guest left, I donned my pink P.J.’s, and washed my face for bed when there was a quiet knock at the door. “Are we too late to join?”

 

“Absolutely not! Please, come right on in,” I say. She walked in with a friend I had not met, with a hot pink streak down the front of her bangs and black fingernail polish. I opened the doors wide and invited a stranger to enter as a friend.

 

Brownies and refreshments were passed into the hands of our guests. Despite having no makeup, or nice cloths, or exquisite food or great musical atmosphere, deep meaningful conversation bubbled up as we all talked about walking different but similar paths.

 

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The Greek word for hospitality comes from two words meaning, Strangers and Love. Hospitality means to show love to those who are strangers. We do this by sharing what God has given us with others. God shares with us, though He was a stranger to us because we were far from him in our sins. Yet, he shares with us from his wealth, freely, with joy, and abundantly.

 

I love how the word Hospital is centered in the word Hospitality. There is a healing that comes when hospitality is extended to those who are hurting, or lonely or simply looking for a friend. Are there any words to heal a wounded heart better than, “Come sit and tell me about you.”

 

I remember experimenting with different colors of nail polish as a teen. Dark Chocolate was my newly discovered polish of the week. Back then, dark colors on a young girl was a sure indication she was headed in a bad direction. Because I was in a “teen mood” I sat in the back away from everyone this particular day when dark chocolate was my way of proclaiming my individuality. Maybe it reflected a little of a darkness settling over me as began to blossom from a child into a woman. We can feel out of place and all alone when we find ourselves in a different season of life, and insecurities whisper that we are less valuable than others.

 

But soon, a woman slid into the pew beside me. I was a little aggravated at the intrusion into my private pew, and a little relieved she was there. She was the church pianist. She fumbled around in her large black leather purse for several minutes, and appeared to not realized I was around. Then finding the allusive mints she turns and offers me one. I smiled, with my silent acknowledgment and reached into the small tin box. About that time my dad slides in on the other side of me.

 

Ignoring the arrival of my dad, the woman gently takes my fingers and brings them closer to her eyes. “Now that is a new color of nail polish I have not seen. Tell me about choosing this color.”

 

Starting with how I saw this color on a friend at school and wanting to experiment with it, I ended my story telling her how I had decided it just wasn’t my color.

 

She smiles and acknowledges to me how she recognizes the brave in me to try something new.

 

“When hospitality becomes an art, it loses its soul.” -Max Beerbohm

 

All she had to offer at the time was a mint and a listening ear, but that is all the hospitality it took to open a conversation and invite me in. Her listening ear became the hospital in hospitality to my insecure teen moment.

 

The soul of hospitality resides in the heart of God. When we open our home and give of our finances, food, clothing, and our lives we are giving as God has given to us.

 

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew25: 37-40 ESV)

 

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Hospitality is not about making your house perfect or cute, though that there is nothing wrong with decorating. Hospitality is not about making a beautiful gourmet meal, though if you invite me over and you cook one, I will eat every bite!

 

Hospitality is about sharing what God has given you, the way He shares what He has with us. Though we did not know him, he loved us and gave to us. Though He was a stranger to us, he provided a door to open for us to go through to reach him. He slides in close to us and calls our name, inviting us into a relationship with him.

 

The evidence of our relationship with Christ is the way we treat others as Christ has treated us. Show hospitality as if each person had direct access to God to give a report. Remember hospitality to those who are in prison, in poverty, and in physical pain. Listen to their stories, and give what you have to comfort them as God has comforted you. Love as you have been loved.

 

“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything” (1 Peter 4: 7b-11 The Message)

 

Thanksgiving and Christmas are close at hand. How will you extend hospitality to someone this year?

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Diane Bailey believes God has equipped each of us for the life we are living. But sometimes it takes friends to help us sift through that arsenal of tools. She is always curious about what motivates a person to make the choices they do, more than the choice itself – then walks with them in finding answers. Diane believes that God never leaves us, so she continually looks for Christ in our everyday life, knowing that he is there in the smallest details. She is the author of String of Pearls and has been on various radio and Tv telling of God’s love for those who have been wounded. Diane makes her home with her husband in the Deep South. She is the mother of two, stepmother of two and grandmother of three. Diane contributes her talents in words as part of the writing team. You can find her on her blog, facebook and twitter.

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8 Comments on “How We are an Invitation

  1. Pingback: Because Hospital is Short for Hospitality | Diane W. Bailey / Diane W. Bailey

  2. What beautiful stories you always share, Diane! They always hit me right where they should. Love you! Heart Hugs, Shelly ❤

  3. Sweet find tonight Diane. The quote about not losing the soul of hospitality by making it an art is so good. Even though I have never been in your home, I feel welcomed friend.

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