“Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” I Peter 4:9
“Welcome! So glad you’re here. Grab a seat on the glider and let me pour you a cup of tea.” Okay. I know you’re not here. I was daydreaming. But, wouldn’t it be great to visit on the porch like two old friends while sharing our blessings or burdens and edifying and encouraging each other? A warm welcome makes for a lovely day. Ever wonder why we often struggle to open our doors and arms to others with the same warmth God welcomes us into His presence with—love, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, mercy and grace?
We can tell we’re unwelcomed when we spot the red flags of coldness, resentment, and awkward silence. They indicate that our presence is an intrusion or inconvenience. A reluctant hostess has a hard time hiding a grudging attitude when being put out while having to put up or put up with an unwelcomed or uninvited guest. A hot cup of tea turns cold quick when served with a cold shoulder.
How we feel is difficult to conceal. However, our invitations should include hospitality. A pretty welcome mat shouldn’t be all that greets our guests at the door.
Hosting With Hospitality
Playing hostess wasn’t my Mom’s favorite role. She was a busy lady as an active wife, mother of four, nurse, teacher, and member of her church. As much as she loved people, enjoyed group activities, liked visiting with family and friends, and making new acquaintances, she really didn’t care for the work required for entertaining. The problem was, hosting overwhelmed her and she thought she wasn’t good at it. She wasn’t fond of housework, never felt ready for guests and dreaded party preparations. But, the awesome and most enjoyable thing about her was that, when she did have people over or they dropped by, she was super great at making them feel welcomed.
Mom’s practices and perspectives taught me that hosting and hospitality are two different things. While my Mom struggled with hosting, she was extremely hospitable. She might only serve a light snack on paper plates but she was bound and determined to make guests feel comfortable and entertained. She gave her undivided attention and left them feeling welcomed and wanted.
I will never forget my Mom’s warm welcomes. I miss her asking, “Hey girl, you want a cup of tea?” when I walked into her home. I miss her telling me to select a pretty tea cup and choice of tea and her putting the honey in our cups while we waited for the water to boil. I miss the eclectic conversations and laughter. I miss her. But, I’m extremely grateful for the wonderful memories she left me to savor in her absence.
Cold welcomes don’t make warm memories. Rejection stinks. Being included is more preferable. Sadly, it can hurt as much to have invitations declined as being uninvited? No one likes to be turned away or turned down. Welcomes should be offered and graciously received.
Reciprocating invitations and sending a thank you is kind. One-sided invitations get old and sour the purposes of gathering for fellowship, friendship and fun.
Offering warm welcomes (and a cup of tea) opens doors to hospitality and our hearts to love and support. Can we send an invitation or RSVP today?
“Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Romans 12:13
Bring It Home
Fall is a great time to gather. Got any plans?
Praying for you as we grow together,