Welcome to our chapter one discussion of Practicing Hospitality. For eight weeks, we'll take a chapter and open it up for discussion. I'll start us off with a summary of the chapter, then open up the linky for questions and discussion. Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation. May you be blessed!
Chapter One: Hospitality and Character
The book opens with the idea that our standards for hospitality don't conform to the world's standards. Rather, we are to be "imitators of Christ" (I Cor 11:1). So our standards shouldn't be coming from the latest edition of Martha Stewart Living (which I love), but rather from the example of Christ himself. As the author insightfully states, "I am challenged to embrace his standard of femininity- a quality that, from a biblical perspecitve, has little to do with appearance and everything to do with character" (20).
The author purposefully takes us through the character necessary to demonstrate biblical hospitality. Using "hospitality" as an acronym, these are the characteristics outlined:
I- Interested in Integrity
A- Adopted into God's Family
L- Led by the Spirit
I- Instrumental in Producing Righteousness
This was a challenging chapter for me to read. As a busy Mama of two, I wanted to skim through it and get to the "meat." Character... schmaracter... Did anyone else feel like that?
However, as Christians, don't we find that character is the foundation? Or should be the foundation?
Fads and trends will come and go, even in opening our homes and extending hospitality. There will always be more recipes to try and more holidays to decorate for. But the reasons why we open our homes, the personal conviction to do so, and the way in which we relate to those that walk through the front door, ... those are the things that make our efforts worthwhile.
Last week, I asked the question, "Why extend hospitality?" Don't we extend hospitality as a way of expressing Christ's love? But look at the definitions above. Let's take thankfulness as an example. If we've yet to cultivate thankfulness, we will be expressing frustration or jealousy. If we've yet to cultivate trustworthiness, we're expressing gossip. And the list could go on.
Developing a life of character is what makes it possible for us to express Christ's love. And yes, we will have areas that we're constantly working on. Areas that we have to revisit from time to time. But being aware of the importance of character, reminds us to take time for it in our preparations.
This week's discussion:
1. Which of these characteristics are you lacking in? How can you begin to develop 1-2 of those characteristics in the coming weeks?
2. What is your greatest obstacle in embracing the joy of hospitality?
3. Look at your calendar and begin to plan opening your home in the next week. Which characteristic can you meditate on in preparation for the event?
Join us next Thursday, June 30th for Hospitality and Strangers.
Feel free to link up before if you're discussing Practicing Hospitality on your blog. We love hearing your thoughts and being encouraged in this journey together. Can't wait to hear what you're thinking.