Monday, July 28, 2008


I had to experience it first before I could try it myself. And we all have experienced it in one form or another. I got my first taste of it in my grandma's home. It was the overwhelming sense of being welcomed. It was the food that was made just for me. It was the way the beds were tucked in and the the way the whole house smelled clean. It was the jovial conversations around the dining room table after meals.

There is something magical about hospitality. My grandma showed me this as a boy. My parents showed me this after I moved out of the house. My mother-in-law is an amazing host as well. Each trip to Houston is full of good food and warm feelings. This is where my wife learned to express her gift of hospitality.

My friends also showed me the magic of hospitality with their backyard cookouts and Sunday football parties. My friends Greg Ritter and the Reichleys are especially good at being hosts. Hospitality for them is a kind of "John the Baptist." It prepares the way for the presence of God. It sets the stage of the coming of the Kingdom.

It's easy to read over parts in the bible that talk about hospitality. It doesn't seem like one of the "greater" gifts. But anyone who has been on the receiving end of it knows better. Good hospitality brings people in and brings people together. It has the power to connect one stranger to another and make them friends by the end of the night. It can mysterious make someone feel safe enough to be vulnerable with their lives. It breaks down walls and gently opens hearts.

Hospitality is the intersection between service and joy, community and celebration. It seems likely that most evangelistic gift of our generation will not be preaching or teaching as in generations past. Instead, it will be the gift of being a host. It will be the ability to invite people into our homes so that they can get a glimpse of His Kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven."


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