Home. It has so many different meanings, so many different connotations. When you think of ‘home’, what does it mean to you? Does it remind you of the house you live in, or maybe the house you long to have? Does it make you think of a person or a place?
During my short-term mission in Uganda, I was blessed to enter a variety of homes. The many people that I met had one thing in common: generous hospitality. ‘You are welcome!’ is a common phrase heard in Uganda. It is an over-flowing of the hospitable hearts of a people devoted to welcoming. Our African brothers and sisters have a vital lesson to teach us in hospitality. Hospitality isn’t about your house, it’s about your heart.
Welcoming is an art. I can think of those in my life who are truly gifted in welcoming and hospitality. They are the people who don’t just say a quick ‘hi’, but they let you into their lives. They make you feel special and appreciated. They open up their home for you; they are available. When you walk into their house, you instantly feel at home; it is warm and inviting.
In the rush and bustle of this world, we have forgotten the importance of hospitality. How many times have you felt the pressure of multi-tasking, so you haven’t fully invested yourself in that conversation? You felt your eyes wandering around the room wanting to catch someone or get something, when you should have been actively listening. We need to again learn to be present and still, giving our time, our patience and our focus.
How do you prepare to be hospitable? Do you rush around the house at the last minute throwing all the washing in the laundry? Do you put candles on and bake a cake? My challenge to you is to prepare your heart for welcoming. Sit quietly for a moment and ask God to help you to be generous and open. Pray for the friend you are about to meet for coffee, the family you are about to have over, or the new-comers to church. Ask God to stir in your heart a compassion for them and a willingness to be present and available to listen.
Hang this print somewhere where you will be reminded daily to welcome with an open and willing heart.
Download the print here
Lucy is a primary teacher from Sydney. She is passionate about social justice and loves serving her local community in practical ways. She is wife to husband Elliot, enjoys blogging and loves spending her days teaching.