Last Sunday we had a ‘families afternoon’with some seminars running on how to bring up kids in the training and instruction of the Lord. One of our wiser saints was running a seminar on foundational practises. One of the things she commended was having an open home. Hospitality takes a number of different forms but let’s just think about one of the easiest – having people round for lunch on a Sunday. In practise we try and do this three out of four Sundays, keeping the fourth for a bit of quality family time. The difficult bit isn’t having people round – it’s organising your diary. Here’s ten reasons why it’s worth a little effort:
- The Bible tell us to (Rom 12:13; 1 Pet 4:9; Heb 13:2). It’s part of what it means to demonstrate the love of God for others. Hospitality is a good way of modelling all sorts of good things to those who come into your home.
- It’s an opportunity to grow in the grace of Christ like service to others. In particular it’s a great service to people on their own, for whom Sunday can feel like a long day.
- It’s an opportunity to welcome new people into the church family. Our church size makes it difficult for us to invite everyone round with any sort of regularity but we always try to keep an eye out for new people. We want to give them a warm welcome early on.
- It’s an opportunity to deliberately meet/serve people not like you. It’s easy to gravitate toward people we get on with more easily. Hospitality provides a way to intentionally befriend those you don’t speak to so often.
- You’ll make deeper friendships and relationships with existing friends. Ten minutes over coffee is one thing; a few hours over lunch is another.
- You’ll make some new friends if you invite new people. There will likely come a time when being friendly to others will come back to you. Hospitality now prevents loneliness later.
- It’s good for your kids (1) – they’ll make a network of friendships across the church cross-generationally, not just with their peer group. They’ll begin to feel like its their church, and not just yours, which means they’re less likely to want to walk away in the tricky teenage years.
- It’s good for your kids (2) – you’re training them to be good at social interaction. You’ll find they talk naturally with a cross-section of different people.
- It’s good for your kids (3) – you’re modelling obedience to Scripture, kindness, and service – you’re showing them how to be the adults you hope they’ll turn out to be.
- You’ll enjoy it! All in all we’ve thoroughly enjoyed having all sorts of different people in our home to share food, fellowship, and good times. And our kids love it too. They always ask who’s coming for lunch, and if, for some reason, there isn’t anyone they always groan!
So get people in your home regularly. It’s good for them, good for us, good for our kids, and good for the gospel.