That first move put us in a little shoebox of a house that the small Midwestern church supplied for us. It was far superior to the trailer, even though it only had one bathroom and the third "bedroom" wouldn't even hold a double bed. The huge pantry more than made up for those small inconveniences, especially since there were only the two of us anyway.
Another move, another church, and we actually bought the only truly nice house we have ever lived in—a three bedroom, bath and a half, family room with fireplace, brick home on a half-acre lot full of climbing roses, irises, azaleas and dogwoods. But it wasn't to last.
Three years later we were on to another church. This one owned a brand new 24 x 60 doublewide with a large built-on utility room. It was plenty roomy, if flimsy, with thin walls, leaky pipes, and a low ceiling that made it so hot in the summer you wanted to just crawl through it, especially in the narrow kitchen.
The next house I have written about before, just a few weeks ago, in fact (see 8/29/2019 in the archives). That one may be the most memorable for the freezing temperatures—inside, not outside--and the faulty wiring that gradually ate up our appliances.
But for the past almost thirty-eight years we have been in this house—another double wide, not as large as the previous one, but much better built, and carefully tended and mended by us. We never really thought we would still be here, but God has a way of making plans that are different from yours. Another thing I always thought was that someday I would have the nice home my mother and sister eventually had, and that it seems most of my friends did too—and the Lord laughed once again. But let me tell you what I have learned about that.
This little 1300 sq ft box was good enough to keep me and my family warm and dry, at least when there wasn't an active leak. It was good enough to raise my boys in, and they were never too ashamed to bring their friends, even after one of the bathtubs developed a crack in the bottom and you had to straddle it while you showered so you wouldn't fall through to the ground underneath. (Yes, we finally got it fixed.)
It was large enough to take in several weary travelers whose car gave up the ghost in the wee hours one morning. It was good enough to hold more than a few Bible studies in. It was good enough to show hospitality to probably a hundred or more brothers and sisters, neighbors, family, coworkers, and friends over the years. It was good enough to host a shower or two, a church small group meeting, singings, and several other meetings of various stripes. It has been plenty good enough to counsel struggling souls many times. It has even been good enough to share with complete strangers who needed a hot meal and a place to stay.
None of my guests ever complained about the small accommodations, sometimes not even a room to themselves but an air mattress on the living room floor or a pillow and blanket on the sofa, and a shower as small as an old-fashioned phone booth—one Superman could not have even turned around in, much less changed clothes. None of them complained about the meals—and they weren't all great, let me tell you, especially in the early days. None of them acted like they were anything but satisfied with what we had to share.
So remember this: It does not matter how little you have to offer. It does not matter how small, how plain, how uncomfortable your house is. We once ate a meal at the home of a church widow whose kitchen was so small that by the time we put the extensions in the table, we had to take turns going around it to our seats, and if anyone needed to get out, everyone had to stand up and move out first. That sweet lady was not a bit embarrassed because she was so thrilled that someone would actually take her up on her offer of hospitality. Maybe that has always been in the back of mind as I considered my duty as a hospitable hostess. Sometimes we have to do some skillful maneuvering around my table too!
All you really need is a place full of love, a spirit of generosity, and a warm welcome. Whatever you have is enough to fulfill the command to serve others. Don't excuse yourself because you think you don't have what it takes in physical comfort and wealth. And don't judge others so shallowly either. I bet they would be thrilled to take you up on your offer.
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Heb 13:1-2).