Some women, like me, have a natural bent toward hospitality. Others don't. But that doesn't mean we should just leave it up to those who like to do it.
As we read through both the Old and New Testaments, God shows us that He values hospitality. We see Abraham welcoming the angels and offering them food and a chance to rest (Genesis 18:1–8). The widow of Zarephath shared what little she had with Elijah (1 Kings 17:10–24). Lydia invited Paul and Silas to be guests in her home (Acts 16:11–15). Even a Pharisee had Jesus over for dinner (Luke 11:37)!
There are a lot more biblical examples of people showing hospitality (I counted at least 29), but God goes even further on this subject. In the Law that God gave the Israelites through Moses, He tells them to show kindness to aliens and strangers (Exodus 22:1, 23:9; Leviticus 19:10, 33–34). And in the New Testament, both Paul and Peter command us to practice this trait (Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9).
So we kind of get the picture that hospitality is not just something nice we should do—it's something that as true women of God, we're supposed to do. Author and speaker Elisabeth Elliot even lists it as one of 11 responsibilities outlined for women in the New Testament (The Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter, May/June 1985).
Maybe hospitality overwhelms you. Maybe you think you need to have a large home that's perfectly in order while you serve elaborate meals. But that's not the case at all. Hospitality has more to do with opening up your home and heart to others than whether your living room looks like something off of HGTV. In fact, Webster's Unabridged Dictionary defines hospitality as: "The act or practice of one who is hospitable; reception and entertainment of strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality."
One of the highest compliments I've ever gotten about my home from a guest is that it was cozy and peaceful. Was everything perfectly dusted? Hardly. Was it perfectly still and quiet? Not with a toddler and a dog in the house. But God had answered my prayer to create an environment where someone felt welcome and at peace.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Tomorrow I'm going to share some insights and practical tips I've learned about hospitality and having people in my home.