When you think of hospitality, what comes to mind?
Entertaining family and friends?
A laborious chore?
Something done by only a few who have the ‘gift’?
Hospitality for me means: welcome, warmth, kindness, generosity, reception, friendliness, taking care of, anticipating needs. It is an action. Something you do for someone you know, or for a stranger.
Martha Stewart didn’t invent hospitality. More radical still, she hasn’t perfected it either. Hospitality, as presented to us in the Bible, is not a practice for a few but is a way of life for us all.
It is a Kingdom function that offers us an opportunity to show God’s goodness.
1. Get to know someone better.
Food is always a good place to start, right? Remember, food shows love. BUT, it doesn’t have to be at your home, with three other couples, at an appointed time.
It can be with one person on the spur of the moment, it can be a gift, it can be your time & attention, it can be anything that makes the person feel valued by you.
If we all stopped for a moment and thought about who we could encourage today through hospitality it would make a super difference in their life, in your own life, and I would dare to say, in society.
2. Make it a heart connection.
Today’s world is full of people who have lost their sense of real connection. We are wired into the world but separated from one other more than ever. So, the challenge to hospitality is our perception of how we fit into the world with others when we are face-to-face.
We all want to matter to someone else. We want to know that someone cares.
How can you show that care? First, choose to develop a friendship with a co-worker, a business partner, a person in your sphere of influence. It is amazing how far a smile will go to ease tension. An invitation for coffee or lunch is a natural step. Find a way to invest in the friendship through mutual interests and then do it.
3. Learn to use active listening
This type of listening is called ‘listening INTO’ another person. Imagine putting down your phone, turning off the television, not thinking about what you are going to say, and just listening.
The INTO also means using not only your ears and eyes to listen but using your heart and body. Physically positioning yourself for a ‘good listen’. This is when the person feels heard and you can discover what’s going on inside them. It is listening from their there instead of your here.
It also requires you to pause often from your own thoughts and reactions, eliminate distractions, and be mindful. Stay present in the moment. When you are with another person this can mean asking probing questions about how they feel or think about the situation or, ask for clarification on what it means to them.
You will forge the stronger connections you crave. AND, in the process, you will become the best listener your family, friends, clients and colleagues have ever known.
4. Let others know you are thinking about them
We are all busy, yet we all crave attention. God came to us to give us His love and now we are to share that love. How can we do that? What are some practical ways we can use hospitality as a tool to serve and love others?
- Talking over the fence to the neighbor; asking how they are
- Shooting off a text, email, fb message to say you are thinking about them
- Meeting someone after work for an hour for a drink
- Hosting a game night at home or somewhere else
- Organizing a get-together at the park
- Meeting at a restaurant with someone
We don’t know how much people think about us because we are too busy to tell them.
Like I said, this is not about a dinner party. It is not about impressing someone with your clean house, expensive dishes, or terrific recipes.
It IS about letting people know you care about them and in return they will show you that they care about you.
Jesus is our biggest example of displaying hospitality. Not all the people he welcomed were welcoming to him. Yet, he still extended hospitality to each as if the outcome didn’t matter. AND, since we don’t know the outcome, we need to extend hospitality to those in our lives.
Write down one goal for yourself about deepening relationships through hospitality. This could be a person at work, a person you see often, an acquaintance, even a family member. Write down the steps you will take to reach your goal. Make the steps small and attainable.
Keep this information where you will see it and remember to continue to work on it. When you have reached your goal, thank God for His provision and then set another goal for yourself.
Creating goals and actionable steps allows you to see progress. Need help in this area? Connect with me for a FREE (no obligation) Clarity Session. Together we can get you on the path God designed for you.
Be filled to overflowing,