This week, I had the blessing of teaching my first and second graders a lesson about Hospitality (lesson plan follows); but first, what is our own understanding of hospitality?
How do we practice hospitality? Actually, what do we consider hospitality to be? Is it a 5 course meal, on delicate china plates and polished silver utensils? Crystal glasses filled with vintage wine? Do we consider that we are practicing hospitality if our guests are treated to Champagne and caviar, fresh cut flowers and soft music playing in the background?
The guest list:
Do we practice hospitality only with our friends and family members or do we practice hospitality on a daily basis? How many times have we opened our homes to complete strangers? Let me rephrase this question (I realize that safety concerns may have led you to answer my question with a resounding “Never”).
How comfortable do we feel inviting families, from our church congregations, to our homes for fellowship? Do we think of inviting new immigrants to our homes for their first Christmas or Easter away from their country of origin?
I am the first to admit that I find practicing this kind of hospitality (welcoming people I hardly know to my house) rather intimidating. I worry, a lot!! I worry that we will have nothing to talk about, I worry about the awkward silence that might occur. I worry about them not liking the food or the kids not getting along. These worries have robbed me of countless blessings.
Our father Abraham practiced hospitality on a daily basis. Because he was so accustomed to welcoming EVERYONE into his tent, he ended up hosting our Lord himself! Imagine if we let this kind of blessing pass us by because we are not committed to practicing hospitality? I know I am missing this blessing; may the Lord grant me a heart for hospitality like He gave to Abraham.
Ingredients for a hospitable Christian home:
A Welcoming Heart
A pot of tea (or coffee) and a dessert
A simply cooked meal
Willingness to listen to our visitors worries or concerns
Mix well and repeat often!
Sunday School Lesson plan:
The lesson was based around a “visitor” coming to our class. I started by asking the children a series of questions:
Do your parents invite people over for dinner?
What do you do when the visitors arrive?
How do you make them feel welcome?
What is the first thing that you say when you open the door?
After discussing their answers, our visitor was led through the class door. The children were then encouraged to find ways to make our visitor feel welcome. As a result, the visitor was given a chair to rest from his long journey, a bowl of food (empty cereal bowl), a beverage (empty soda can) and a “pillow” to rest. The children played along with our imaginary props and our visitor confirmed that he felt very welcomed and well taken care off by his hosts. After our guest left the classroom, I proceeded to read a portion of the book of Genesis while providing explanations as the vocabulary is a bit advanced for our angels.
Bible verses about practicing hospitality:
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?