“Let brotherly love continue.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:1-2)
When I think of hospitality I think of Rebekah. She who, in the generous compassion of her heart drew water from a well to give to a stranger whom she had never met — the servant of Isaac. But she didn’t stop there. She also offered to water each and every one of his ten camels until their thirst was quenched. She didn’t know that her kindness would win her one of God’s chosen servants to be her husband. She was merely extending gracious hospitality because it was part of her nature. (See Genesis 24)
When I think of hospitality I think of the widow of Zarephath who gave her very last meal to the prophet Elijah in a gesture of purest charity. She didn’t know for sure that her sacrifice would yield a miracle of unending flour and oil, but she gave her all in faith. (See 1 Kings 17)
When I think of hospitality, I think of Mary and Martha. Martha busied herself with preparing a meal for the Lord, Jesus Christ, showing her compassion in the best way she knew how. And then I think of Mary who reverently sat at her Master’s feet to feast on the words that He spoke. Her art of hospitality was displayed in a holy act of listening. (See Luke 10)
When I think of hospitality I think of my mother who has chopped vegetables, rolled out noodles, and prepared her heartwarming Chicken Noodle Soup many, many times to share with someone she is led to serve. She claims it makes enough for two families and so we call it “Service Soup.” In my times of trial, my mother is always the “first responder,” armed with homemade bread and a homecooked meal or two or three. Her ways of hospitality begin in the kitchen but end in the heart.
When I think of hospitality I think of my mother-in-law who frequently hosts family gatherings, parties, and “girl’s days” to draw her loved ones together in joy. There is no holiday, Sunday dinner, family reunion, or ordinary day too small or too grand for the outreach of her compassionate hospitality. And when we arrive, she greets us all with a kiss and a hug. There is always a feeling of genuine acceptance for just who you are whenever you cross her threshold.
When I think of hospitality I think of my Gram who for years on end invited her granddaughters to stay at her house for a few days each summer. We called it “Grammy Camp” and rightly so, because her pure love emanated from each activity we did together. The ceramics, sewing, shopping for our “secret cousin,” and daily trips to enjoy shaved ice were infused with her light. We always felt so safe and loved in her home because she cradled our hearts ever so tenderly.
When I think of hospitality I think of a myriad of women the world over, who, in their own unique way extend grace and compassion and mercy and love. I believe hospitality to be innate. It just needs to be uncovered and kindled.
How do you see hospitality extended from the women in your life? Do you feel the spark of hospitality that is kindled within your own soul? What is one step you could take to grow that flame?