by Anneke Fesko
Hospitality. Inviting guests into my home is intimidating. Will the food taste good and look appetizing? How will providing a meal for extra people fit into my budget? Is my house nice enough and are my children polite enough? How will I ever get the house clean? When will I find the time to cook?
Here is where I need to take a deep breath and remember a few things. First, the Bible encourages us to exercise hospitality. It’s an action that prospective elders are supposed to do (1 Tim. 3:2), and also something that people in the pew should do (Rom. 12:13). The book of Hebrews encourages us to show hospitality to strangers, because in so doing some have even entertained angels unaware (Heb. 13:2)! At a bare minimum, we show hospitality because the Bible tells us to welcome, feed, and care for people. But I hope that we can go far beyond a sense of duty and relish the joy of hospitality.
You see, when we invite a fellow Christian into our homes to have a meal, we are experiencing a small foretaste of heaven. In the new heavens and earth, all of God’s people will dwell together in eternal fellowship with our triune God. Therefore, sharing a meal, fellowshipping, and encouraging one another in the bond of the Spirit gives us a small taste of what life will be like in the new creation. For a brief time, we set aside the tyranny of the urgent; we talk, listen, and eat. We share one another’s burdens, sorrows, and joys. We join with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to share in this fellowship as we feast upon the blessings of God’s good creation—a well-prepared meal—something that reminds us that our heavenly Father cares for our every need, even in something as mundane as a meal.
Another important dimension to hospitality is welcoming strangers. At church, have you ever felt isolated and unknown, or worse, unloved? I know I have. When we welcome someone new or even someone who has been attending our church for years into our homes, we have an opportunity to show that person a simple act of love. We become the hands and feet of Christ as we feed, care for, and love a person in need of fellowship. All too often our churches seem cold and unfriendly because we are reluctant to open our homes and share the love of Christ with our brothers and sisters. Put yourself in the shoes of the new or forgotten at your church and ask, how would I like to be welcomed and treated?
Third, and last, don’t stress out over what to serve your guests, how fancy your house is, or if your little darlings are still learning manners at the table. Being perfect is not the point; the fellowship is the point. If you’re worried about making an entire dinner, invite guests for dessert and coffee. If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, then lay out a feast. Enjoy the blessings of God’s good creation. This is when I remember my mom’s (a hostess extraordinaire) advice to me: remember that you can disarm any situation and make people feel welcome with a warm smile!
I promise you, hospitality is a blessing both to the host and the guests. Get a foretaste of the heavenly eternal fellowship of the new creation, fellowship in the bond of the Spirit, and enjoy God’s good creation. Don’t let fear and stress keep you from knowing the blessings of showing hospitality to the body of Christ.
ANNEKE FESKO is the wife to Dr. John Fesko (Academic Dean and Professor at WSC), mother to Val, Robert, and Carmen, part-time homeschooler, part-time Project Manager, and an avid reader. Raised in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church as a daughter of an elder, she and her family carry on the tradition of showing hospitality in their home.