Hospitality by Jim Tice (Guelph ON)

Hospitality.

I must admit my expressions of hospitality are primarily for the people I know well. The ones I’ve decided I like and want to get to know more, to spend time with. I also need to admit that I’m not very good at it. I don’t feel I have the ‘gift’ of hospitality. I don’t look forward to baking up some special treat for guests or preparing a meal that will delight their tastebuds. Honestly, I don’t cook if I can avoid it.

With three growing children, my wonderful wife and myself to feed, I do cook. I’m not an awful cook as evidenced by their willingness to eat my oft repeated recipes but I find little creative outlet there. (although when I was younger and single, I created a dish called hamburger soup. You make some soup and a hamburger. Then put the hamburger in the soup. Voila!) It’s more a duty to do to keep us alive. Wow, that’s grim isn’t it?

Thankfully my wife cooks a lot of the time. Her recipes are tasty, healthy (well mostly, because really some of the best stuff isn’t) and a treat to the tastebuds. When we have guests she cooks and does it very well.

Also, thankfully hospitality doesn’t always mean cooking, although food is pretty often important. It can mean having people to your home, sharing conversation, laughter, beverages, fun, or an activity. It can even mean having time with people elsewhere. Some of my best times aren’t at my place. They’re at Tim Horton’s place or Williams’ place.

Had a wonderful time with a friend yesterday at Wendy’s place over her burgers with bacon. That’s almost a category to itself as food that includes bacon is always a win! But as we talked and shared our lives over a meal we lost track of time and just were guys hanging out. There was talk, laughter, encouragement, accountability and prayer. It was great.

That’s the other thing. Hospitality isn’t a one way thing. No, I don’t mean they can invite you for bacon next time. But that when you show hospitality you benefit too. It’s an opportunity live live out prayer and encounter God. Instead of praying, “God bless Bob.” You can bless Bob and yourself by extending hospitality. God works like that.

Hospitality is a gift from God and it’s meant to be shared with people who we may not even know well. By sharing that hospitality we can get to know them for who God made them and how wonderful and unique that is. Biblically, there’s even that whole ‘they could be an angel’ thing.

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2

Wouldn’t that be bizarrely wonderful. Of course, that probably ONLY happens if it’s someone you don’t really know. Doubtful that Aunt Rita who you’ve known forever and used to tease your mom is an angel. Mom would say, “not even close”.

So, what if in this next week or so, you or I (you first!) were to find a stranger or someone you don’t know well and extend some hospitality?

Perhaps someone you wouldn’t normally hang out with. Maybe a person on the margins of society. Buy a hot chocolate or lunch and share some conversation. What might we find and how might we prayerfully encounter God in that visit?

And oh, don’t use them to get your spiritual rush. Be present with them rather than looking over their shoulder for God’s touch. Enjoy them and in that personal connection God will be present.

I’ll let you know how it works out if you will!

jimcom


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