Why is it that we so often take something simple and make a big production out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big party and Hobby Lobby as much as the next girl, but is this what Paul meant when he said we are to “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality,” (Romans 12:13)?
As I began to learn about biblical hospitality one thing I notice is how often meals are shared. This is exciting for me because I love to eat almost as much as I love to breathe. In Jesus’ time a shared table meant a shared life. To break bread with someone conveyed your acceptance of them.
The second idea to notice is the number of times hospitality revolves around home. Our homes are private and personal. In your home people will see the drapes you have chosen, the colors you like, the books you read, if you have kids, and if you have pets. There are clues around a person’s home that reveal what makes that person tick. Of course people may also see the stains on your carpet, the cat hair on your couch, the dishes in your sink and that your toilet could use a swish. But this should not prevent us from inviting people into our homes, because hospitality is about people, not perfection.
In 2007 our family moved to Florida where we didn’t know a soul. As a mom with young kids who works from home, I didn’t get out much. In an effort to connect with other moms I joined a MOPS group. In fact, I was so desperate for friendship that I joined three.
As Thanksgiving approached that year, I realized this would be the first year in my life that I didn’t have plans for a holiday that had always been about family and friends. Then a mom at MOPS invited our family to join her family at her neighbor’s house for dinner. All three of us had recently moved to the area and no one had extended family to share the day with. My husband and I were hesitant to go because I didn’t really know this mom, and I didn’t know her neighbor at all, but we accepted anyway.
Dinner was a potluck jumble of barstools, folding chairs, card tables, blue jeans and babies. Nothing about it was coordinated or fancy. There wasn’t even a formal table, let alone a tablescape. But you know what? It was perfect.
Food, a friendly invite, and my new acquaintances was all that was needed to make us feel welcome. If you’re considering hosting a gathering, don’t fear the fancy. Keep it simple. An open door is all you need. Let perfect happen on its own.