As I was reading my Bible the other day, I saw a little devotional on the sidebar that said hospitality has the word hospital as its root; both of these bring healing to someone hurting. Think about it for a minute.
I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read that passage – hospitality truly does soothe the soul. I know how much I’ve appreciated it! We even went to a friends’ house for Superbowl last Sunday, and it felt so good to be with others who we love to hang out with. Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-45 that when the Son of Man comes in His glory, He will divide people into two groups (the sheep and goats). Among other things that He said the first group did right was “I was a stranger, and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:35).
I remember one of my closest friends and I talking when we first had kids about how it becomes more and more difficult to meet friends as you grow older. There’s no longer school forcing you to meet new people, there’s not new folks walking through the doors of work, and online media makes us feel more isolated than ever because we have lots of facebook friends without people that we can really share and connect with. We talked about ways that we were going to try to meet other moms.
A women’s Bible study I started going to has been great for fellowship (praise God for His answer to my prayers!). In a meeting recently, we were discussing the first chapter of Ephesians, and somehow the conversation turned that we are to live for God and not ourselves. We need to humble ourselves to serve others, and one way we do that is by making it a point to interact with others and not worry about how our house looks or things appear. This is something I’ve been feeling rather convicted about.
You see, we don’t have a dog. While that means we don’t have hair to clean up, it also means that any crumbs that fall to the floor stay there until I sweep them up. I hate to sweep (not sure why?) so that’s the last chore I get done when I make my to-do list. But, if I know someone is coming to our house, the first thing I do is get out my swiffer and get to work on our floors. I also make sure that there’s no dust to touch on any surface anywhere. If no one’s coming over, I let the dust settle while I spend time doing other things like laundry or writing.
That said, I honestly like to have a clean house. Truly, it makes me feel good to have everything in its place. But, I also have three young boys who need my attention. When I think about having friends over, I calculate how long it will take me to scrub everything and factor that into the timing of when I put things on my calendar. (Not to mention what food I’m going to prepare since I feel my cooking skills are much less adequate than most of my female friends.)
But, with all that said, the places I feel most comfortable going to are the cozy houses where there are some toys strewn about, crumbs under the dining room table, and random socks in the corner. So, why do I think my house needs to look pristine to have fellowship with others? It’s ridiculous, and it’s a form of pride in and of itself. My own sense of guilt if my house doesn’t look perfect has inhibited me from inviting others in to connect, have fun and spend quality time together. I’ve been more concerned about what others think than about offering healing to those who need friendship. I want to be a mom that says “hey, stop in anytime!” So, I’m asking God to change my heart.
Dear Lord, help me, invite strangers, friends and family in. Allow me to look into the souls of others and see what they need rather than look at my own house and wonder what people might say if they see Cheerios in our dining room or lint on our carpet. Help us all humble ourselves and truly connect with others face-to-face rather than the texting, facebook and email that has taken over this modern life. Help us serve You by loving others. In Jesus Name, AMEN!