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013Do you have a vision for hospitality?  Do you use your home as a place to welcome and refresh others?  Here’s some reading material on the subject that I’ve been chewing on lately.  I hope it will be an encouragement to you in this endeavor.

  1. Mystie Winkler has written several articles on homemaking and hospitality lately that I have found quite helpful.  Forget Pinterest or that magazine cover, Mystie’s tips get straight to the heart, encouraging us to be ready to show hospitality toward everyone who enters our home–by practicing on our own family members.  Here’s the most recent article I’ve enjoyed.
  2. Did you know that hospitality is a characteristic required of those in church leadership?  Tim Challies reminds us that the hospitality that elders are to exemplify is to be a characteristic all believers should pursue.
  3. I don’t usually read Christianity Today, but this article came to me recently by recommendation from another blogger.  Have you considered God’s role of “home-making”?  There’s good food for thought here, but I would suggest the conclusion we draw from this shouldn’t stop at awe and consolation for our souls (as wonderful as that is in and of itself!).  We’ve been made in the image of God and we can reflect His care for humanity in our care for our homes–in fact, it’s both explicitly encouraged and commanded.  All the same, if you are in a season in which you are overwhelmed by the mess, wondering if you’ll ever get things under control, take heart.  As the article says, your God has prepared and is preparing a home for you.  And He’s always on top of His game.
  4. My father-in-law recently finished reading Alexander Strauch’s The Hospitality Commands to our church over our fellowship meal on Sunday afternoons.  We took it about a chapter at a time and discussed how we might grow individually and as a church in showing hospitality.  This is a great read if you want to go deeper than a few blog articles will take you. 
  5. As I’ve considered God’s call for His children to practice hospitality, I’ve been reminded of a metaphor from one of my favorite mommy books:  Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic.  The chapter entitled “Heavy Branches” likens our gifts and the things we produce to fruit on a tree.

    In the side yard, right outside my window, were two old apple trees.  And year after year they made apples.  …these trees had been throwing apples on the ground every August for probably ninety years or so.  It is something I love about fruit-bearing trees and bushes–that God told them to make something, and they do it enthusiastically.  They don’t care about what happens to the fruit.  They do not measure their efforts or fuss when no one appreciates it.

    …What happens to all our fruit is not our problem.  That doesn’t mean that we are not to care about the fruit.  While it is on our branches, it is our life work.  It is an offering to God, and we ought to care intensely about the quality of our fruit.  But the branches are our responsibility; the ground is not.

    May we joyfully produce fruit in our homes to bless our families and any who walk through our door–without being discouraged when an apple gets bruised or the beauty we sought to create gets overlooked.  May we not grow weary in doing good–our God is at work in it to accomplish His purposes.

What’s your favorite book on hospitality?  Have you read any good articles on the subject lately?

How have you been blessed by the hospitality of others?

What things get in the way of you opening up your home, and how can you, by God’s grace, overcome those obstacles?

If you’re in a tough season of life, what are some small ways you can show love and welcome to others?