I am an entertainer at heart. Whether it be in my home, on a stage, or at a party, I love to make people laugh or try to encourage their hearts somehow. I have always loved being a hostess and enjoy welcoming people into my home. From having small groups over, friends or family spend the night, or throwing a fun Christmas party, I look forward to a having a full house, cooking yummy food, and working to help make everyone feel at home. I have a heart for hospitality.
After living on our own for 8 years, my husband and I have recently moved in with my in-laws after transitioning back to the States from pastoring a church overseas. I have always equated hospitality with home. To me, good hospitality was always having sweet tea and cookies for your guests, having a clean house, and making each person feel welcomed. As we made our move and settled into someone else’s home for this season, I wondered what hospitality looked like for me now.
More and more, the Lord is teaching me that hospitality has little to do with our homes, and much to do with our hearts. Hospitality is not about how well you entertain company and make them feel at home, it is about how well you show them true belonging. And we don’t have to look any further than Jesus to see this proved.
Jesus was a nomad during his earthly ministry on earth. In Matthew 8 he says, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the son of man has no place even to lay his head.” While Jesus, did have a place to sleep each night, often it was different and always changing. We see no record of Jesus owning a home, property or “putting down roots” in a nice quiet suburb 15 minutes outside the city. Yet, it is obvious throughout the Gospels that Jesus was the epitome of hospitality. Those who knew the heart of Jesus knew home, and it had nothing to do with brick and mortar.
In John 6 Jesus taught a hard lesson to the crowd that followed him. Many turned away, yet those who truly knew Jesus stayed. “Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68). When we experience the type of “home” that comes from being with Jesus, there is nowhere else better to be. It truly is heaven. Jesus said in John 14:2-3, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
So where are you today? Are you at school, missing home? Have you just moved into your dream house with your family and you’re busy decorating and getting ready to throw your first house party? Maybe you live at home with your parents, who never get along, and you just want to run from the only place you’ve ever known as home. Or maybe, like me, your home is borrowed. Whatever your situation is, in our comfort and in our want, we must remember this truth: our real, true home is in heaven, with Jesus. It is a home and a place that is more real than our own current reality. And that is what is important to communicate in hospitality.
Shortly after He explained about our home he is preparing in heaven, we see this beautiful truth in John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” He is more than everything that you would ever need. If you don’t feel like you belong, know you belong with Jesus.
Once we understand where our true home lies, and what real hospitality is, we can begin to live out those truths to others. That means we don’t have to worry about having the nicest house, the cleanest kitchen, the most picture perfect family, or the best tasting food and most impressive pantry. We can be who we really are, and rest knowing we belong with Jesus. Then, we can show that same thing to others whether we are in our homes, cars, our workplace, or walking down the street. We have an opportunity to show true love and belonging by reflecting the heart of Jesus Christ.
We have a place where we belong and we have an eternal home if we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Are we showing that to others each day? With the coworker who complains to you each day about something new, allow that person to see Jesus’ love in you. For the friend who has been through more than they can bare, be home for that friend. For the orphan who needs a home, show them true belonging. There are a million ways to have the welcoming, hospitable heart of Jesus and it doesn’t require a house to do it. A true heart of hospitality helps a person find their home in Jesus.