MESA WOMEN: Setting The Table | Embracing Hospitality, Serving up Love

Written by Lynell Brooks

Greetings from the Mesa Women’s team!

Hopefully, you are into the routine a new school year brings, or perhaps you can vacation without crowds at your favorite spot. Wherever you find yourself, I would like to take a few minutes with you to explore the concept of hospitality.  
Hospitality is mentioned often in the Bible and one of the evangelical world’s most respected Bible teachers, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, states this in his commentary on 1 Peter 4: “Peter exhorts these Christians to open their homes as well as their hearts. Christian hospitality is a forgotten blessing in the modern church, and we need to restore it.”  Let’s see how we can be a part of this restoration.
In Scripture, we find that love and hospitality go together. In his letter to the Romans, Paul (while talking about love) exhorts them to “Always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13b). You may think, "That's easy for you to say, Paul!  You don’t have a husband, kids, a job, sports, PTA, and church responsibilities all clamoring for your attention! AND I am supposed to entertain guests with all my ‘left-over’ energy!"

“The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

This is the Oxford Language Dictionary’s definition of hospitality. It does not say where this takes place, how it is done, or for how long. You may be picturing a lot of work leading to a large meal with a group of people filling your house, then lots of cleaning up after they leave. But, perhaps there are other ways to be hospitable.
What about all those games where you sit or stand along the sidelines, cheering your young athletes on?  Have you extended a friendly reception to the other ladies there?  Sometimes, all it requires is one person taking the chance to break the ice and start a conversation. And, the kids provide the entertainment!
Then, there are those play dates. Your littles need to be out of the house for your sanity. How about inviting another mom with kids to join you at a playground where the kids can gleefully enjoy yelling and screaming outside while you sip whatever beverage you brought along with another mom who understands this life stage? Or just go to the park and strike up a conversation with whichever mom is there doing the same thing you are. Hospitality - friendly reception, entertaining of a guest or a stranger. 
For those of you who work away from the house, how do you use your lunch time? Is there someone in the office, or a different department that you would like to get to know? Can you extend an invitation for lunch and spend a little time getting acquainted? Perhaps, if you do this with the lady who has been a little difficult or just rubs you the wrong way, you might just find out that she isn’t so bad. As a supervisor, I encouraged my staff to have lunch with the person they had been complaining to me about. We found that taking time to be friendly and showing we actually cared about the other person changed both people involved. 
With the holidays approaching, hospitality is high on most of our lists - and it usually involves family.  1 Peter 4:8-9 (NIV) tells us...

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”  

Nearly every family has situations that make holidays interesting, if not down right hard. But, it is difficult to show the love of Jesus to our family without getting close to them. We have some of those situations in our family and I have found that praying ahead of time, lowering my expectations, and allowing the day to unfold has helped me to continue extending hospitality to those “challenging people” in my life. I learned years ago that I don’t have to like what they have become, or how they treat me, but I need to love them as Christ has loved me.
There is another Scripture about hospitality I would like to close with: “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” Hebrews 13: 1-2 NLT
Friendly reception of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Could that be the sound of angel’s wings?
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Liz Pimentel - November 5th, 2022 at 9:48pm

Lynell, thank you again for being our latest writer! You make hospitality seem less scary for me. I tend to get overwhelmed by hosting, despite enjoying making sure people have a good time. You take Martha and infuse her with more Mary, and remind us that to be Christ-like is to be warm and welcoming. :)

Sharon Noble - November 5th, 2022 at 10:05pm

Thank you Lynell for reminding us of how important hospitality is in our everyday lives. Kindness, concern for others and beauty in the small moments are fundamentally hospitable and can be used to bring joy and comfort to so many people. God can use that in our lives and the lives of others. Thank you for the reminder!

Angel - November 5th, 2022 at 10:54pm

Love this Lynell! Thank you for sharing. So important for us to keep in mind.

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

Jennifer Hope Webster - November 5th, 2022 at 11:49pm

Lovely article Lynell. You are so right… hospitality can be a planned tea or simple as you said at a park with coffee. I’ve had the joy of receiving “recovery hospitality”.. My small group individually brought to our home delicious cooked dinners & desserts for a, flowers, hugs, and kisses. Unexpectedly, we enjoyed a casual but charming sit down visit in my sitting room. Yes, I was reclining and recovering with a total Nano knee replacement. If this all wasn’t enough, I was blessed with a prayer quilt and uplifting conversations. It did me well. Thank you… Hospitality was brought to me! Thank you MESA CHURCH. ♥️♥️♥️ Jennifer

Renee Dallas - November 6th, 2022 at 3:04pm

Hospitality reminds me of the heart of God towards us, and how we express His love outward to others by invitation, serving and connecting... thank you Lynell for the timely reminder of how He has gone to "prepare a place for us", even now, setting the table for us to come and be a part of each other's lives.