Most days, the thought of opening our house to people takes a back seat to the task of keeping our house in one piece. Hospitality? Like most moms, the thought is almost humorous! I have always been a “people person”. Then I had 4 children and I had a house full of people all the time! I was constantly entertaining. ;) My zeal for hospitality was lost to survival. Whether you are a mom or not, we all have so much stuff that is filling our lives that finding room for hospitality is nearly impossible.
One of the first acts of hospitality in the Bible is described in the Old Testament book of Genesis. We often think of Abraham as the father of faith, but he should also be highly regarded as the father of hospitality. Both he and his wife Sarah demonstrate for us a great picture of the hospitable family. Genesis 18:1-5 says,
“The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
Hospitality is not only important for me personally, but it is also important for our family. As a mom, I want my children to understand the need to sacrificially give our lives to encourage and inspire others. Like anything, this must be intentionally taught and demonstrated to have lasting impact. Following are three things we learn from the story of Abraham’s example of hospitality. They are also great reminders of how to teach hospitality to our children.
1. Abraham WELCOMED his guests – He had eyes for those who were in need. Abraham did not wait for a need to be known. He initiated an invitation. Helping our children learn hospitality means helping them see the needs of others.
2. Abraham SERVED his guests – True hospitality always has our guests on display, not our home. We are not the center, but our guests are. Helping our children learn hospitality means teaching them that our guests are the center of our attention when we invite them in.
3. Abraham REFRESHED his guests – He was focused on refreshing, not impressing. Helping our children learn hospitality means teaching them to see that we desire to see people leave more encouraged, strengthened, and refreshed then when they came.
I encourage you today, no matter how busy you are, to sit down with your family and take a look at your calendar. Make a list of friends and families that you are going to invite into your home, and put it on the schedule! And don't forget...get your children involved in helping plan, prepare, and welcoming your guests in.