And so now the excuses are arising: “My house is too small.” “I don’t have any extra money in my budget for guests.” “I’m too shy.” “I live too far away.” “I’m too busy.” And so on and so on and so on, as many excuses as there are people to make them, including, "People just don't do that anymore." What people do and do not do in our culture makes no difference when we are talking about a command from God.
Can I first just mention Priscilla and Lydia? Both were working women, Priscilla alongside her husband making tents and Lydia with her own business. Surely they were as busy as any woman today, especially when you remember the labor saving devices they did NOT have that we take for granted. Yet they kept people in their homes. In fact, Lydia said it this way to Paul and Silas, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay,” Acts 16:15.
Am I faithful to the Lord? Then “too busy” can be taken off the table right now. I can always find a way around it. Instead of cooking, take someone out to dinner. Are you faithful to the Lord or to your overburdened schedule? Prove it and postpone something. Get your husband in on the act and ask for his help. In Bible examples, it was almost always the husband who did the inviting and acted as a servant/host.
And speaking of sharing the work, go in with another family. That will automatically lighten the cooking load and help with the shy problem. The more people, the fewer awkward silences. If that other family lives closer to the guests, have the meal in their home and you have another problem solved. See what we are saying? You can always make it work if you put your mind to it.
Then there is the money problem. And the “too small” house problem, which we would assume is at least partially caused by the “money” problem. Once again, asking for another to help can remedy it, but assuming there is no one to ask, stop trying to find a hindrance and remember this: Jesus looked at the widow and her two mites and said her gift was far greater than the richest man’s there. Surely people who claim to be his disciples will also recognize your lack and the fact that you gave to them even in your own need and bless you for it too.
When my parents were first married they had friends over nearly every Sunday night for scrambled eggs and toast. No, not fancy eggs with smoked salmon or goat cheese or fresh herbs—just plain old scrambled eggs. The other couple brought a loaf of bread for the toast. They had a great time every week. Do you know why? It certainly wasn’t because of the food—it was because of their relationship. Get over worrying about what you serve and start thinking about who you should serve. Look for specials at the store and serve what’s cheap--chicken and dumplings, chicken and rice, macaroni and cheese, yes, even scrambled eggs.
And the “small” problem? My guest room used to be my boys’ room—room for bunk beds and two bureaus. As a guest room there is barely enough space for the double bed and a chair and one night table. I do my best to offer the things in Patricia’s list, but there isn’t room for it all. The shower is so small that a larger person has to get wet, step outside on a towel to soap up, and then step back inside to rinse. If you dropped the soap, you couldn’t bend over to pick it up without the other side of you banging against the shower wall and, depending upon how cold it was, possible hitting the ceiling.
Guess what? No one has complained. Without exception, all of my guests have thanked me for taking them into our home. You are worrying about nothing, and I am here to prove it.
I hope you have enjoyed Patricia’s material and I thank her kindly for allowing me to use it. If you would like to thank her yourself, then do so in the comments section below. She has a knack for mixing the scriptural with the practical. I learned a lot just listening to her, and more by actually being a guest in her home, something I hope will happen again. Maybe I will get to return the favor someday, and I hope she won’t drop the soap in that tiny little shower!
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Rom 12:13.