I’ve been thinking about what is truly at the heart of hospitality that speaks to my soul. It must go beyond setting tables, organizing weekend groups, and endless amounts of cleaning – right?
Why is it that I chose to pursue hospitality for part of my college education? Why does creating beautiful spaces for people to connect and share some of life’s most precious moments excite me? Why do perfectly orchestrated events that encourage conversation draw my attention?
In praying through one of the most tumultuous (and yet, miraculously graceful) times in my life, I discovered that the Lord has placed it on my heart to serve others wholeheartedly. And this can manifest in any number of jobs or situations.
I can choose to serve at the barn.
I can warmly welcome others at a ranch.
I can set schedules and handle logistics for groups of people I’ve never met, and will likely never meet again.
I can work without the need for recognition at events that put a spotlight on others’ biggest life celebrations.
I can provide encouragement for a small group of friends.
I can exhibit Christ in my daily habits, no matter the task or project.
I discovered the following quote in an article written by Ann Voskamp, inspired by time spent with Katie Davis-Majors. Davis-Majors is arguably one of the best examples of living a life in service to the Kingdom – putting aside everything in an effort to serve those most in need. She has devoted her life to loving, teaching, and helping the people of Uganda, and Voskamp captures her sacrificial lifestyle in such a beautiful way:
“But our answers to all the raging questions of the day won’t be found in what we write: it will be found in how we open our doors. Our actual theology is best expressed in our actual hospitality.
And I don’t mean that hospitality is one quaint ministry for those good in the kitchen and keeping their house picked up. Hospitality isn’t for the good housekeepers — it’s the grid of life for anyone keeping company with Christ.
Hospitality is meant to shape our churches and politics, our work and our schools, our homes and our faith and our schedules and our meals and our lives. Hospitality is Life with no gates.
Hospitality means if there is room in the heart — there is always room in the house.” – Ann Voskamp
The heart of hospitality can be so much more than clean cabins or a well-decorated home. I believe it’s about making people feel welcomed into a space that’s not their own and allowing them to feel comfortable and cared for. I have seen God use ordinary people in mundane ways to completely transform a person’s day and give them the strength they need to continue on the path laid out for them.
I have experienced the joy of seeing someone’s face light up when they walk into their important event without having had to worry about a single detail.
And I have witnessed the power of a team of people serving tirelessly and working towards a common goal for a ministry or organization.
The spaces we are charged with taking care of (our homes, camps, venues, etc.) can become sacred spaces for people to take solace in. On the surface, it may appear to be just another meal served or just another event finalized, but I see it as an avenue for change – a way to impact those around us in a personal way. And when it’s framed in such a way, hospitality seems to be one of the greatest lifelong projects one could ever hope to work on.
“Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.” ~ 1 Peter 4:8-10