We love hosting people in our home. It is fun to have parties or get-togethers and enjoy laughing, playing games, and just becoming “beloved community” together. This year, I (Tanya) have set out to learn more about hospitality, both practically and spiritually. What does it mean to practice hospitality? What does it mean to have a hospitable spirit? How can I help people feel more welcomed in our home? How can I be hospitable in a sacrificial way?
It’s easy for me to have a few-hour get-together with people that I already love, but what does it mean to go beyond those limited times and limited groups, and have a home that is always open to others?
I’ve always seen our home as a safe haven, a place where I can relax and enjoy my family. I’d even go as far as to say that I’ve sometimes tried to protect our home rather than opening it, especially on the weekends. It seems I’m becoming a bit more introverted as the years progress, and we love – and frequently need – a quiet Saturday.
But I was reminded recently that a quiet Saturday may not always be what our souls need most.
Jon is working on a recording project of local Roma musicians out of a home studio. Our church’s worship team is one of the groups participating in the project. These are some of our most precious friends here in Slovakia, so in terms of hospitality it was not a stretch to have these dear friends in our home.
The group arrived for a recording session one Saturday a few weeks ago. Since the team is made of up couples with young children, our two teenage girls and I knew what we’d be doing all day: While the team recorded, we were the support staff watching their children (three kids under 5 years old) and making sure the team had food and everything they needed to make the most of their time.
We had such a fun day! We played together, ate together, and talked together during the recording breaks. I was so proud of how my girls helped with the kids, even when they were obviously tired. It was such a joy to have our home full of people: working, playing, recording, praising God, and just enjoying beloved community. Around eight in the evening, the last family left for the day… we were exhausted, but strangely fulfilled.
It wasn’t the quiet, sheltered Saturday I often crave after our busy weekdays… but it was so much more. It was a chance to help these musicians do their best work. We opened not only the office/studio, but our entire home to these friends. We didn’t get that quiet Saturday… we got something so much better.
When the recording is finally released, you probably won’t hear our voices on the CD, and these amazing singers will give all the credit to God (as it should be), but in the background will be the joy of friendship and the tiny sacrifice of quiet Saturdays.
This is what hospitality looks like. It’s rarely easy – it almost always requires sacrifice. It’s giving up our own time, our private space, our mental and emotional energy, and our material resources. But in doing that, we recognize that that time, that space, that energy and those resources were never ours to begin with – we’re simply sharing what has been “loaned” to us.
Let’s open our doors – both of our homes and of our hearts – to make room for others. It’s a sacrifice, but if we do it willingly, I think we’ll be surprised, again and again, how God will use that sacrifice to do amazing things – in others’ hearts and in our own!