. . .Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. . .I Peter 4:8-9 ESV
One of our family’s New Year’s resolutions is to invite someone over every week. Yep. Every week. Did I mention there are 8 of us.
My children range from age 10 months to 14 years. We homeschool, have a very small farm, special needs and I teach childbirth classes one night a week and am a doula so I occasionally attend births too! Whew – we are busy. Always. We work very hard to minimize our obligations to things in general because just living life – schooling, animals, medical appointments, laundry, baths for Pete’s sake! – keep us pretty well booked. There’s not a ton of time leftover. Ever. Sometimes there is down time and sometimes, honestly, there’s not a lot. So why on earth would be even attempt to have people over this much?? I’ll explain.
First of all – the Bible says to do it.
Not weekly, mind you. But “show hospitality” and again in Romans, “practice hospitality.” We take this to heart. There are some things in the Bible that aren’t always this clear, things we must wrestle out for ourselves. This one is simple. Do it. Don’t grumble. Practice it which kinda implies some amount of regularity.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, erve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. . .Romans 12:9-13 ESV
I find it interested that in both of these often quoted passages there is talk of love and then hospitality. The first one addresses this idea that love covers sins. . .spending time together, living life together opens the door for healing when the offenses or sins happen. The second passage again starts with talking about love and then ends with another call to hospitality.
This is a big reason we’re stepping up a notch in hospitality this year. Our children are getting older. Especially important to our oldest son is time with friends. I remember feeling that way too. We want to provide opportunities for him to connect with people his age, to forge good friendships and to have fun. However, we prefer to do things as a family for the most part. In order to meet his need for friendship and peer time and maintain our conviction to not segment our family in a bunch of different directions all the time, we decided to invite people over more often. And we’re giving our children input on who we invite. The friendships that we form in our young adult years are often the same ones that see us through finding a spouse, standing up with us on our wedding day, giving input as we navigate becoming independent adults and even into adulthood and parenthood. We want to help him dock his ship alongside other God-fearing, respectful and hardworking young men and women. Young adults who will sharpen him, laugh with him, challenge him and push him on toward becoming all that he can be.
Our house stays cleaner.
When we host regularly we stay more faithful in keeping our home presentable. We always try to keep things decent. However, whenever someone is coming over we always take a few more minutes to tidy up, rescue the bathrooms, pick up toys and usually put something that smells good in the diffuser. I like this. It’s a bonus.
Things will get in the way.
There are a multitude of things that will derail our plans – sickness, scheduling conflicts, vacations, holidays and on and on. But, if we aim for once a week and even succeed half the time that would be 25 times we’d invite someone over this year. That’s huge. Way better than we typically do. We’re committed this year to keeping after it – no giving up. Sickness, holidays, hard weeks, busy schedules. . .No excuses! If we fall off -we’re going to get right back up on that horse and keep at it.
It’s good for our children.
There are so many ways that it’s good for our children. They learn to serve others, through cleaning ahead of time and after company leaves. They learn to be good hosts themselves – sharing toys and favorite seats. I believe they are better guests having been frequent hosts. My children have often experienced the frustration of guests who come and don’t help pick up after themselves. I teach them to have grace and clean up with a cheerful heart, but also to be sure to clean up after themselves and offer to help after a party at someone else’s house.
Sometimes it feels tiring, sometimes it takes way too much effort to sync up with another family, sometimes the children get sick and sometimes I just don’t feel like hosting. Sometimes my dear son with special needs uses the distraction of company to overflow and clog my toilet (that one happened again tonight). But rain or shine, this year, we’re going to practice. Perhaps we’ll get better at it, but no matter, I am confident there will be blessing in our faithful obedience!