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The Homemaker

We are called to hospitality
 

Christian Hospitality
Printable version of Christian Hospitality
Written by Kathy Chapman Sharp

If youre like most people, you probably think practicing Christian hospitality is equivalent to what youve seen in entertainment books and magazines. And if youre like me, you end up feeling depressed and inadequate because you dont quite see your holiday efforts measuring up to the glossy pages youve been reading. Take heart: Practicing Christian hospitality isnt about glittering, glamorous table settings or platters of picture-perfect food; its about practicing servanthood right in the middle of your practical Christianity. More important, its about loving others through Christ and making people feel special.

Spiritual Gift or Scriptural Mandate?

While not everyone feels comfortable at the helm of a social event, some folks have a natural talent for making guests feel special. You might think those hospitality genes are inherited, but just because your mom isn't Martha Stewart, youre not off the hook. Thats because hospitality takes on added dimensions and new definitions for the Christian.

Some Christians possess hospitality as a spiritual gift. The Bible tells us that every believer is given at least one spiritual gift for the purpose of building up Gods church and serving the body of Christ. In other words, our gifts are given not for our own benefit, but for the enrichment of others. We should be serving those around us, including the body of believers, family, and friends.
Some Christians possess hospitality as a spiritual gift. The Bible tells us that every believer is given at least one spiritual gift for the purpose of building up Gods church and serving the body of Christ. In other words, our gifts are given not for our own benefit, but for the enrichment of others. We should be serving those around us, including the body of believers, family, and friends.

Romans 12:13, however, encourages us all to practice hospitality, whether it is our spiritual gift or not. In fact, the Greek word philozenia is actually a combination of two words philos, meaning affection and zenos, meaning stranger. While usually translated to mean hospitality, philozenia signifies affection toward strangers.

In The Message Bible translation, 1 Peter 4:8-10 says, Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you.

Whether we have the spiritual gift of hospitality or not, it can be a part of our way of life. None of us deny that its easier to share hospitality with family and friends than with the stranger on the street. But the New Testament teaches us that Christianity is the religion of open hands, open hearts, and open doors. When we open our hearts as well as our homes, were practicing Christian hospitality.

St. Benedict upheld that hospitality maintains a prominence in the living (Christian) traditionthe guest represents Christ and has a claim on the welcome and care of the community. In other words, if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected within us and is showered on those with whom we come in contact.

The Book of 1 John makes it plain that when we love others, we are showing our love for God. He loves us completely and unconditionally. Equally, when we love and serve others in the community through hospitality, we are also serving God.

Practice Makes Perfect

While the art of hospitality may come easy for some, it may be quite difficult for others. After all, its not always easy to give of yourself, much less your hard-earned gains. And like most things in life, hospitality isnt done perfectly the first time. But dont stop trying. When we do it over and over, it truly becomes a comfortable part of our nature. Its all in perspective.

Many people choose to focus on what they dont have instead of focusing on sharing the blessings of God. So give it a try. Somewhere along the way, youll realize that people are not in your home for the unlimited entertaining budget. Rather, they sense lovingkindness and genuine concern. Thats the moment when your home becomes a sanctuary for those God sends your way.

Just think: If Christians would practice true hospitality, we could play a significant part in changing our corner of the world. After all, we are living miracles and have so much to share.

The bottom line is that God can use people like you and me to touch lives. It doesnt matter if we rent or own a house or an apartment; our homes are an extension of ourselves. When we practice hospitality, we have the opportunity to touch lives in an intimate, personal way. Be bold: God has not only given you the roof over your head, but also will give you the love and wisdom needed to open your home to others.

With a little planning and preparation and a good measure of prayer you can be prepared to share your home with friends, neighbors, and even the strangers God may send your way.

This article courtesy of Christian Single magazine.

Article Address: http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0,1703,A%253D150124%2526M%253D50019,00.html

Are you the wrong Proverbs woman?

Helping your husband grow in Christ

by Kyle McVay for MOP's 

Recently I've been involved in the lives of many of my sisters and have heard the pain in their voices and hearts as they discuss their husbands spirituality. Usually the problem is that he is either not a believer or not a strong Christian in her eyes. I cam relate to this because, although my husband has always been a Christian for a long time I felt that I was ahead of him in my walk. Frankly, I felt like I was on mile 5 and he was still waiting for the starting the gun. As I was eagerly gobbling up the word I thought he was eagerly gobbling up ESPN, Rush and Flag Football. Finally I felt that it was inevitable that I would have to be the spiritual head of the household because if I did not who would?

 

As I was growing and learning and running the Christian race I attended a Bible Study at Central Baptist and the teacher said that we should always first go to our husband for spiritual guidance. I was beyond shocked at this statement. Certainly what could he have to tell me about the Bible? But I wanted to be obedient and I knew if he did not answer my question then I could return to my pastor and have him answer the questions I had as I had been doing. So I dutifully asked him the question and to my amazement he not only answered it, he answered it brilliantly, thoughtfully and Biblically. There were three things I learned in the situation and they all revolve around a pride issue in my heart.

 

First, our husbands are gifts to us from God.Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV In failing to appreciate them to love them to honor and respect them we are telling God we do not trust You and Your gift is not good enough for us. 

would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart? Psalm 44:21.We really do not know their hearts,I thought I was better then him I thought I knew his heart but I was just looking at the outside. Only God knows our husbands hearts. 

 

Second, my pride allowed me to ignore the reality that my submission to my husband is a mirror of my submission to Christ. What does your reflection look like? It is crucial we understand that if we are unable to submit to our husbands we are sinning (unless they are asking us to sin: sexual immorality, law breaking etc). It is exactly as if we are failing to submit to Christs authority in our lives. When you look at your life do you see the areas that you are having difficulty submitting to Christ? Ask your self am I also failing to submit to my husband in these areas?

 

The word tells us: If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20 How can we hope to submit to a God we cannot see if we cannot submit to a husband that we can see? The question becomes do we love God?

 

Third, pride led me to believe that I knew where my husband needed to go, how he needed to get there and frankly when he should arrive. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 In reality I now see I was standing smack dab in the middle of where my husband was and where God wanted to take him. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18  My wall of Pride and haughty spirit was preventing my husband from becoming the man that God wanted. I assumed I knew my husband best, that I knew what he needed and that I was his Holy Spirit.

 

Finally, even if your husband is not a Christian the Bible tells us: Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 1Peter 3:1 Not with a few words or by nagging him to death (in fact it says: Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome [nagging] wife.  Proverbs 21:9). Its not about where he is or who he is its about us, its about you and where we are and how we obey and who we are becoming. Marriage is an opportunity to sanctify ourselves through sacrifice, obedience and trust. Ladies, now is the time to tell our Lord I love you and I will obey you! ("If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15)

 

Sisters, where do you stand? Are you nagging, whining and complaining (Do everything without complaining or arguing, Philippians 2:14)? Are you spurring your husband on to good works, acting as his cheerleader? Are you standing between him and God preventing or slowing his growth? Or Dear sister are you the wrong Proverbs woman who with her own handstears her [house] down Proverbs 14:1

 

Suggested resources for a changed life by the grace of God: The Bible (Proverbs 31:10-31, Titus 2:3-5, 1Peter 3:1-7) by God, The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, The Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss & Praise her at the Gates by Nancy Wilson

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