Hospitality as a Family?
Showing hospitality by having people in your home for dinner is nearly a lost art. If you have a family, these times spent together with your children, your husband, and your guests will not be in vain. Why is this important? Whether or not they tell you, people are learning from you what it means to be a Christian family, if you are taking the time to model it among them. If they only see you alone, they do not see the redemptive image that God fashioned to be seen in marriage and family—that of Christ to the Church and of God to His children. I’m not saying that being a family is the only way to share the gospel. We know from Scripture that singles have a greater opportunity for ministry (1 Co. 7:8, 17, 32-35). However, if you are a family, it is an automatic living metaphor of the gospel (Eph. 5:22-33) which opens the door to talk about it and share the gospel.
From what I have learned from others and from what my husband and I have seen in our own lives, one of the biggest forms of ministry we have is that of having guests in our home. They see how we live, how we love each other, and if it is a regular guest, they see that we are real and that Christ is head of our home. It is never wasted. One time, we had a guest who said, “Thank you. I forgot what it was like to be a family.”
When our children were little, they shared our joy and excitement in having guests to our home. They learned how to be amazing hosts when we had company over—which is a normal part of our life. Even when they were as little as three years old, they greeted people at the door (after lots and lots of practice before guests would arrive), and brought drinks and food along with me. My husband and I love hospitality and our children didn’t know any better but to love it, too. Now that my kids are teenagers, this is just how we roll.
Don’t underestimate the value of hospitality and how you can teach your children to actively participate in it and in sharing the love of Christ. Your role is not merely that of telling people about Jesus or discipleship but to teach your children how do it by including them in the process. It does take extra time on your part, but it is part of being a family. Don’t view it as a burden to have to train your little ones to sit still, or train the older ones how to greet and interact with and serve guests, or to teach your teenagers a gospel presentation so that they can listen and learn as you share it. View it as a gift from the Lord—that is what it is. Seize this opportunity of showing hospitality as family while you have it. Life is only a vapor. All too soon, this sweet season will be gone. And do not forget this, if you do not model how to be a Christian mother, wife, and family, how will others learn?