“It's a risk. You let people into your house, make them feel welcome; what if they don't leave!”
This was my husband's tongue-in-cheek answer to the question:
What are your thoughts on hospitality?
Maybe hospitality is risky?
The introvert in me wonders if the guests will overstay their welcome and asks, “what if we don’t have anything to talk about”?
The perfectionist in me asks “what if my house or cooking isn't up to snuff?”
The busy in me says, “There's just not enough time.”
These ponderings may feel valid but Scripture leads us to think in a way that is radically different:
At the beginning of Romans chapter 12 Paul beseeches us, his brethren, to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, not being conformed to the world, but having a renewed mind. He then goes on to instruct us on what this looks like. In verse 13 he says we should be given to hospitality.
Hospitality is a catalyst for relationship. It has eternal value. It is worth the risk.
When our family traveled to India last March to bring home our youngest son, we brought along our long-time friend, Donna. She helped us navigate the city and introduced us to friends she had made while living in India years before.
Donna's hospitable friends welcomed us into their home. Ravi served fresh-squeezed orange juice purchased from the neighborhood vendor. Caitlyn made pizzas, generously sharing the *real* cheese that is so hard to come by in India. They shared stories of how Christ is working through Genesis of Hope and Cooperative Outreach of India, organizations begun by their family. They asked for prayer.
What if Ravi and Caitlyn hadn't been willing to risk hospitality? They could have simply shaken our hands at a Sunday morning church service or met us for a meal at a restaurant. But by inviting us into their home they communicated a willingness to invite us into their lives. That willingness has led to a relationship that God can ultimately use to further His Kingdom; a relationship that encourages and challenges us and makes us aware that hospitality may be risky, but done with the right heart, has eternal value.
Hospitality is the fruit of a transformed mind. Let God handle the risk and act in faith.