One of my greatest joys as a Christian has been the opportunities God has given our family to open our door and offer hospitality to others! I grew up in a home where the door was effectually shut to outsiders. I have no memory of impromptu get-togethers or spontaneous game nights. We didn’t invite the neighbors for dinner and because my home was so cluttered and over-filled with stuff, I didn’t invite friends over to hang out, either.
That was my background, but God has given me a new legacy in our home. Since early in our marriage, Steve and I have purposed to have an “open door” policy, and I’m so thankful that now all of the Scheibners love opening our door to friends and strangers alike!
Ephesians 5:16 exhorts us to “make the most of the time, because the days are evil.”I’m absolutely convinced that opening our homes, practicing hospitality, and giving others the opportunity to see what it “looks like” to live as believers are some of the best opportunities we will ever have to “make the most of the time.”
When we open our homes and allow others to see us living out our Christianity in practical, daily ways, we will have the chance to share the why of how we are living, with them. People don’t need perfection from us, they just need to see how we live out our faith in such a way that God is glorified. That means allowing them to see us as we truly are… bad hair days and all!
This week, I taught on our Facebook page some of the choices we have to make in order to make hospitality and open door opportunities possible. You can listen to that Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CharacterHealth/videos/200837607337639/live here. But what is it that keeps us from opening our doors? Why are so few Christians characterized by hospitality toward others? As I’ve pondered these questions, several reasons for our reticence came to mind.
FEAR: Fear is the great de-motivator of believers! Whether we fear what others will think, fear the bad effect other children might have on our children, or fear the unknown difficulties of having people into our homes living fearfully will cause us to keep our doors bolted shut.
Fear of what others think can be paralyzing! What if they don’t think our house is good enough? Or our cooking is tasty? Or we aren’t entertaining enough? May I encourage you to just RELAX? No one is looking for us to entertain or impress them! The goal of hospitality isn’t to impress, but rather to bless. Especially if you’re hosting teens or children, they’re never going to notice how perfect your house is or whether your food is gourmet… They just want food, (lots of it) and someone who is glad to see them!
Perhaps you’re fearful of the bad effect other children may have on your own kids. Yep… sometimes that happens! However, the goal of child raising isn’t to completely isolate our children from bad influences. Rather, as they are exposed to standards (or no standards!) that don’t match our own, we can talk to them and dialog about right choices and decisions. If our children never have to stand for what is right, they will never have the opportunity to develop strong spiritual muscles. Obviously, the younger the children, the more oversight you will provide, but don’t let your fear rob your children of the opportunity to grow!
The second area that I believe holds us back from offering hospitality is LAZINESS. Look, I get it! I’m an introvert who absolutely loves her peace and quiet. If I had my way, it would be just me and my husband and kids, all day every day! Thankfully, God hasn’t allowed me to linger in my laziness. Over and over, He’s presented opportunities to invite others into our home. Can I be honest, at first I was often begrudging and a bit grumbly LIt’s taken time and a changed attitude, but now I look forward to the “new” friends God will send our way.
Especially when it comes to hosting your children’s friends, may I gently remind you that our time to do so is limited? Once your kids have grown and left home, the window of opportunity to influence their friends will quickly close. Please don’t let a lazy heart keep you from being the extra “mom” another child might need! I promise, God will never ask you to do anything that He doesn’t enable you to fulfill. You will be amazed at how much more you can do than you ever thought!
Finally, a LACK OF PREPARATION will definitely lessen the opportunities we have to open our home. It takes planning to open the door and say Come On In! Notice, I didn’t say perfection… just planning. Think about what easy foods you can keep in the freezer for unexpected visitors. Make sure your home is reasonably presentable, so that you don’t fear the mess that visitors will find! Again… I didn’t say perfection… No one expects homes with kids to be perfect! Make sure you have unscheduled time at home. If we’re running around too much, we’ll never open our door to others because all of our time at home will be spent catching up.
Hospitality is God’s avenue to show others His Son. Who will you invite through your door, today?