Thought I would follow up my hospitality post with some questions or problems I’ve had myself, or people have asked along the way.
- What if I’m an introvert? Consider that God didn’t give a special category for Christians who were responsible for hospitality. “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:9-10 (Notice that how we are hospitable will differ, depending on our abilities, but we are all to show hospitality.)
- How do people know when to come over? I ask them! “Want to come over for coffee next week?” Sometimes I make a Facebook post, and some people will come because of that. Other people will not come unless you ask them specifically. If you have a regular time of hospitality, you may have friends and neighbors drop in, but in much of our American culture right now, this isn’t something I expect.
- How do I deal with rejection? Sometimes you reach out the hand of friendship, and the people you invite don’t come. Maybe they have a good reason, but after several attempts, you start to suspect that they don’t want to be friends. I have found it is helpful not to worry about who is unable to come or why. That approach is bound to burn you out fast. Instead, rely on God’s sovereignty, and consider that God is well able to connect you with the people you need and who need you.
- What if people stay too long? I tell them to go! Or just stand up and say, “We’re so happy that you came today!” If my children need to go to bed, I simply tell my children to get ready for bed. Sometimes I’ll schedule a coffee day alongside of an appointment. That makes it easy for me to say “We need to get ready for our appointment.” Mercy is going to pleasant and peaceable– telling people your expectations is helpful! Your friends and especially your acquaintances don’t want to overstay their welcome, so make it easy on them!
- What if people don’t like coffee? I give them tea! Or ice water! People need love more than coffee!
- What if my husband doesn’t like company? I arrange hospitality so that the needs of my family come first. Sometimes we serve the Lord together. Sometimes we don’t. I’ve tried to make family hospitality something that is fun and desirable– I’m sensitive to my husband’s schedule as well as my children’s schedules. If it’s a season that family hospitality is not possible or desired, I can work in hospitality in those spaces where I have freedom to do it myself. Meeting a friend for coffee, walking or exercising together, going to the park with a friend are all ways of loving others that need not disrupt a family schedule.
- What if I’m tired and overwhelmed but still want to show hospitality? It is possible that you may need to team up more. Find partners who can help you at your weak spots. Consider ways that you can welcome others at church or in places you’re already serving.
- How do I deal with expecting too much? I may need to change my expectations. For example, if I’m going to have someone over to my house, I may need to purchase a rotisserie chicken instead of making a truly excellent meal (something I love to do but can find overwhelming in some seasons). I can either live with messy floors or ask a friend to come early and help me wash them. If I’m carrying a great weight every time people come over, I’m probably doing hospitality the hard way.
Do you have any that you would add?