This is a guest post from my friend, Megan Keyes. Along with her husband, Aaron, and their family they understand the biblical priority of hospitality. They do an incredible job of opening their home to many guests that sometimes come over for community group, while others stay for days and even months.
Growing up, I loved going to my aunt’s house. She would welcome me with a smile and a hug. She made me feel like her home was my home. She shared delicious food with me,vinvited me to sleep over, and took care of me like I was her very own.
In contrast, visiting my friend’s house felt very different. I was never sure if it was ok to be there or not. She was stressed, busy, and seemed annoyed whenever I was there. It was like her stress and fear were contagious and made me feel the
same way. I even remember feeling a sense of relief when it was time to go home.
About seven years ago, we started having young worship leaders live with us so we could disciple them and share our life with them. At the time, we had three little boys and a fourth on the way. I quickly found myself exhausted from cooking, cleaning, trying to keep my kids quiet, and trying to never have a disagreement with my husband in front of the guests. As you can imagine, this was not a sustainable lifestyle and caused us to quickly reevaluate.
We were unbalanced in our priorities and in the expectations we put on ourselves. I realized I was not hosting well, I was trying to entertain and perform. It was more about me and what I was doing instead of about my guests and what they actually needed. I am pretty sure the guys in our home didn’t care if the kids were running around and if my toilet was sparkly clean. I know they didn’t care if my hair and make-up weren’t just right.
Actually, I think those things made them feel more at home.
We have continued to host and train worship leaders in our home over the years and each group that leaves always says the same thing, “We have been changed by your community, being involved in your family, and the feeling of being welcome and at home.” This is what I began to see really mattered—the spirit of our welcome.
We began to ask ourselves:
"Are we open or closed people? Is our home environment hospitable or hostile?” Do we listen well or want to be heard? Do we put others above the dishes? Do we create a safe place for others to feel welcome?"
I have been inspired by the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4. She was open and
welcoming, perceptive, discerning, restful, caring, a hard worker, humble, secure, not looking for approval, and satisfied. Her hospitality opened up the doors for miracles in her life—a son she dreamed of, and healing that brought him back to life. All of this because she opened her home and offered what she had.
There are also numerous places in scripture where we see that practicing hospitality is valued as highly as being devoted to prayer, honoring others, loving others, hating evil, being filled with hope, and persevering in trial.
One of the greatest joys in my life is opening my home and creating a safe place for others to be themselves. A place just like Jesus gives us, a home. Who better to do this than the body of Christ! We, of all people, should be the best hosts around!
I encourage you to start small and invite a friend or stranger over this week. Set aside one day a week or month to open your home! It is such a simple and easy way to love others and I know you too will be blessed!