Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
I usually like to read through whole passages of scripture until something jumps out at me and then I read it in several translations. And I'll read it over and over for days on end. This time, I kept remembering the phrase 'practice hospitality' from reading it a long time ago and I searched for it until I found it.
I know I've mentioned it before, but I have some sort of genetic mutation. I have a terrible aversion to entertaining that makes me turn into a complete wreck. It's not that I don't want to have guests over. I do. It's just that I turn into such a freak about it and I hate that.
Several months ago, I heard someone speak about Moses. At the burning bush, God spoke to Moses and asked 'What's in your hand?' and Moses replies 'A staff' (Exodus 4:2). He talked about how the staff represented everything that Moses was. It showed that he was a shepherd and that he had flocks and probably a large family. The gentleman speaking then related this to our lives saying that God isn't necessarily asking us to all become missionaries or pastors or church music leaders. He argued that God just wants us to be faithful to him with what we've been given. For some of us that may be a talent or a passion. For others, money or possessions. He encouraged us look at what is in our hands and see how we can serve God with it.
I know I've done a terrible job of explaining all this, but it made so much sense the way he explained it and I just kept thinking about it. I still think about that question a lot. What is in my hands? I've already mentioned my very talented sisters and how I really don't have that obvious talent or passion. The more I thought about it, the more it became frighteningly obvious... I have a house that is perfect for practicing hospitality and that is what I should be doing. Seriously? How am I going to do that when having more than two people over sends me to the brink of a nervous break-down? Even though I was really apprehensive about it, this was one of the situations where I just made myself jump. And, to my complete surprise, my first attempt wasn't a complete disaster.
Soon I will be trying it again. And again. I think that eventually I will be having some sort of gathering at my house every month or so. I'm not sure where it is all going. This isn't an attempt to try to convert anyone or push my beliefs on anyone or anything like that. This is simply about me being faithful with what I have. This is about me being faithful to love other people and to live in community with them. To be a good friend and to be there when I'm needed, even if that is just to facilitate people taking time from their busy schedules to relax and visit with other people. To be inventive in hospitality. To practice hospitality.
So... Love and Hospitality. Those are the things I'm working on right now. I think there is a good reason I keep thinking 'practice hospitality' over and over in my head. Practice makes perfect, right?