Hospitable? Or no?
When I think of Minnesota “isms”, hospitality is one of them. Here is the Midwest, we tend to invite people in, feed them well, and send them on their way. Ha. Isn’t it the truth, though? We’re not super big on real conversation. Sure there’s plenty of, “How ya doin”, “Ya, sure”, and “You betcha”. But conversations tend to be about as deep as five minutes will getcha.
As I plan, a girls’ night for a ministry I’m a part of, I begin to become frantic. What do I serve? What do we do? Is cinnamon more “fall-ish” than caramel? What about apples…Granny Smith or Braeburn? NO! Honeycrisp. The thoughts rattle through my mind as I seek out how best to people please my way into the Martha Stewart-turned-Pinterest hall of fame.
I’m only being honest. And then the conviction sets in. Where does my desire to host an evening of authentic conversation and genuine compassion come from? If Jesus Christ is the reason I feel compelled to give, then why is He not the One I allow to mold the evening. The length of my consideration on how to host was insignificant compared to the logistics of hosting. Place, time, munchies, check. The heart behind it? Uh-oh. Missing!
I find it odd when I pause to contemplate, that I hadn’t thought to pause first. Much of my ideas of hospitality and comfort come from what culture has impressed upon me. Not to say that these things aren’t enjoyable – a good cup of chili and a nice mug of cocoa wrapped in a fuzzy blanket = wonderfully cozy! – but they never really satisfy. Yet, last night, as my head pounded and my heart fluttered (going on week 9 of unexplained symptoms and sickness), prayer was all I needed to anchor my soul in a place of peace and contentment. This morning as I work busily on assignments, paperwork, and scheduling that’s stacked up, I hear God’s voice saying, “I am the God who sees you” (Genesis 16:13). It’s here in the presence of my Lord that I’m able to live and move and breathe.
So why is it that I allow society’s norms and standards to define hospitality and compassion? Today, I am going to stop planning the logistics – they’ll still be there tomorrow – and begin allowing Jesus to reveal how He would like to comfort and encourage the young women who come. Praise be to God that it’s not up to me!