Encouragement From Hospitality

Today's encouragement story is from Natalie. One of the first things that attracted me to Natalie's blog was the title; she's a fellow scribbler! On her blog, Scribbles n' Things, Natalie held a series last month diving into Biblical hospitality, which you can read here. She'll be having a part 2 to this series in a couple weeks. 

I’m going to be honest that when Emily asked me to share a time when I was encouraged by hospitality I couldn’t make up my mind which story to share. Hospitality is a craft that’s been taught for generations in my mother’s family, and one of the spiritual gifts I’ve been pursuing. So I had a hard time picking just one. But, I thought I could share a bit about a close friend of mine.

Lauren is a single gal in my church who really exemplifies hospitality and has encouraged me to do the same. Lauren makes it a point to pretty much know everybody in her condo complex. Every time I go over she's telling me about how she's reached out to so-and-so lately. She takes her neighbors brownies on their birthdays, invites them to church, stops and chats with them when she walks by, etc. I was also a part on her connect group this past fall. Connect groups are kind of like a pre-community group. They’re mostly just fellowship based (as opposed to in-depth Bible studies), along with dessert. It’s a good mix of people as well. There are church members, church seekers who are new in town, and then there are people who are really just exploring what Christianity is all about. Lauren is super at adjusting her conversations depending on which end of spectrum the person falls on. She’s incredibly gracious and kind with her words and actions towards others, and unlike many women, she rarely gets frazzled over how good the food is or her limited amount of space (and having around twenty five people crowded into your condo is a lot).

So often I think we equate hospitality to just food, a clean house, and having people over, but really the heartbeat of biblical hospitality is mission. (Although, I’m not going to lie, good food and a pleasant environment help greatly.) When you start to have a mindset that hospitality is to be seen and practiced as ministry and mission, rather than just meals at your home, in many ways it lessens the stress we feel and erases the boundaries we’ve created in our mind. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus calls us to be like salt:
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matt. 5:13 ESV)
What are a couple of attributes of salt? I think about it preserving and causing us to crave for more. When we show others hospitality we are to do just that. Preserve, encourage, and stir on fellow believers, and then bring others outside of our faith by making them thirsty. They should notice something different about us once they’ve spent a couple of hours in our homes. Once they’ve been conversing and sharing with us. My mom has always said that you know when an event/gathering/party is a success when the guests are already looking forward to getting together again.

Natalie from Scribbles n’Things is currently a college student majoring Christian ministry. She drinks her coffee with extra cream, and her tea with extra honey. She's one of those girls who'll always pick a dessert over a salad. Some of her favorite things are chocolate, fresh-cut flowers, candles, new books, sitting on my front porch, and conversing for hours. She like to be straight to the point and blunt about life, faith, and everything else. Most importantly, She's learning to make Jesus Christ her first love and live solely for Him. She likes to think of her blog as her online home, so she invites you in!

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