Last night I attended Radiant, our church’s monthly women’s ministry fellowship [which I love!]. Emma Gray headed up the talk– she spoke on Romans 12:9-13. Quick refresher:

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (ESV)

In verse 13, Emma clarified the differences between biblical hospitality and myths which are often associated with hospitable acts. Here goes:

  1. You have to be a good cook. … … a lady in my prayer group shared about how she was once convicted to ask a lady over for lunch- all she had to serve was stale bread and tea- she was so thankful she listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit rather than her cubbard. This particular guest has been her prayer partner and closest friend for the last 11 years! This is not to say we can’t serve a good meal, but it certainly shouldn’t deter us from ministering to others in our home.
  2. You have to have a nice, tidy home. … … I think this is an area I struggle with the most. I often fall prey to connecting pride with the cleanliness of my home. I want people to think I have it altogether and to like me. The root of this problem is sinful in that I find my identity in what people think about me/my home rather than my identity in Christ. I need to have people over for the right reasons. Instead of making fellowship about what people think of me and my home, hospitality is an opportunity to love others and minister to their needs. Sometimes taking off the facade of perfection and replacing it with toys scattered on the floor or left-over dishes on the counter enables guests to feel at ease to be themselves too. We are all fallen, we all do not “have it altogether”. We all need Jesus everyday. Again, it is not wrong to have a organized home (often times cleanliness can  be a blessing to others in the way it allows one to relax), it is the motivation of your heart which need to be examined.
  3. Everything has to be beautifully prepared/It all has to go like clock-work… … Again, examine your heart for your motivations for having people over. Is it to make yourself look good by having everything scheduled? Or to serve others(entertaining them in order to bless them)? Emma shared that she will give her guests chores to do to help with making the meal. This liberates her to have more people over and allow them to feel apart of her family.
  4. Hospitality means Sunday Lunch… … Though this is a great time to get to know people, it does not have to be the only time we practice hospitality. Titus 2:3-5 states,

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Emma shared that the word teach is translated to mean teaching by example instead of the “lecture format” understanding of this word. Hospitality should allow others to see how we live life so that they may learn the attributes in verse 4 and 5 of Titus from our example. Additionally, older women does not necessitate that you have grey hair. If you have a little bit more experience and wisdom, consider investing that in a younger woman (especially since school just started, there are plenty of girls in need of hospitality!). Perhaps consider taking two or three other people and having them around on a weekly basis. Be vulnerable with them, meet their needs for the right reasons, let them see you in good and bad (when you are yelling at your kids and when you are laughing), and love authentically.

She tied up the talk by exhorting us to live in an authentic community to glorify God so that the world will know we are His.

I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with other ladies and being challenged in my walk with Jesus. Which myth do you most relate to? Is there another myth that you more readily experience? Feel free to comment!