What if I told you one thing would make an enormous impact on every relationship you have?
I know that sounds like an oversimplification, but it isn’t.
All relationships that are healthy have many things in common. Truth, love, acceptance, boundaries.
But there is something of a lost art in relationships that I think can bridge the gap between people, especially in a divided culture like ours.
Hospitality is the ability to welcome people, to be warm towards people you know and people you don’t.
Hospitality is also the opening of your heart and life towards other people.
It is being friendly and generous to those around you.
I think it is a lost art in churches and among Christians, and I think that hospitality has the power to build a bridge for the gospel in our culture.
Our culture is wary of Christians. In fact, where I live it is odd to be invited over to someone’s house for dinner. In other parts of the country it is normal, but our houses are now our fortresses, where we rest at the end of a long week.
But this and the rise of social media have left so many of us lonely and isolated.
That’s the power of opening up your home and sharing a meal with someone.
In fact, when we created our family mission statement, we put hospitable as one of the five things we wanted our kids to know when they left our house and one of the five things we wanted to be true about our family.
We think it is not only a Christian value but a bedrock of healthy families and relationships.
Don’t believe me?
Think about the people you love to be with? The houses you love to be in? The families you love to go to or went to as a kid or college student. My guess is they were hospitable.
So what does it look like practically to be hospitable?
The first is to decide you want to be and care to be.
This will mean opening up your home and life to people. Being willing to serve them and invite them in. If you’re an introvert, this might mean one or two people instead of a big group.
The second thing is to do it.
Don’t jump in and say you’ll go from never inviting someone over to three times a week. Start small.
If you have kids, talk with them about it. Pray for the people you are having over.
Our kids know that we have toys in our house for babies because we invite families over. We don’t need the baby toys, but they take up space in our house to serve those families we invite over.
That’s the third key, intentionality.
You have to plan it and think through what it will mean in your life and what it will look like.
Again, I think hospitality has the power to change the relationships we have. It is that powerful.