Welcome to our chapter six 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 and then open the linky for questions and thoughts. Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation. May you be blessed!
Chapter Six: Hospitality and Others
Who are the "others" in your life? It's so easy to remember the families that we love or the friends that we enjoy. And they are in our lives for a reason. However, in understanding true biblical hospitality, we are challenged to reach out to everyone. So who are these others?
First let's start with an understanding of biblical compassion. Mark 8:1-2 illustrates how Christ was moved with compassion for the crowd who had nothing to eat. Biblical compassion moves the focus off us and unto others. It's not about how I can serve others, but rather focusing on what they need. The authors offer this equation:
The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers motivated by the longing to demonstrate biblical kindness and love
A sense of empathy for the distress of others coupled with the desire to minimize that distress and demonstrate kindness and mercy
Scripture points time and time again to several instances where hospitality was extended not only by emotion, but by the action it invoked. Several examples are given for putting compassionate hospitality into action:
*providing material needs
*fasting for others
*assisting with the needs of others, etc.
Several categories of people are listed as examples for extending hospitality:
*Singles--remembering to invite a cross selection of guests for dinner, singles have the gift of being able to minister in a unique way, more time to engage in relationships (practice hostessing, offer tea, etc)
*Widows--loss of married friends after spouse's death, offers a wealth of life experience, widows CHOOSING to initiate and not remain alone
*The Grieving--providing a nurioushing meal to deal emotionally, knowing when to leave the meal and when to comfort, use disposable containers, remembering them after the "crisis period"
*Hospital Hospitality--call before you visit, providing healthy snacks/snack meal for family staying at the hospital, restaurant gift cards, offer to stay with patient so family can get rest or run errands, provide reading and game material, purchase a phone card, include your children if possible, provide follow-up visits after the patient goes home
*Dietary Restrictions--always ask/ always be up front when an invitation is extended, expand your meals to include low-fat, diabetic, vegetarian, etc
*Food Insecure--donating to a church facility or community resource, volunteering as a family, hosting an event where the "admission" is food to be donated
*Large Families(my addition)--large families can often be excluded from hospitality due to their size. Think creatively how you can extend hospitality by hostessing a potluck, breakfast, ice cream social, or dessert.
This Week's Discussion:
1. Review the Compassionate Hospitality Equation. Write your own equation and place it in a prominent place that will challenge you to put the equation into action. Evaluate each time you extend hospitality against your equation by writing down what was successful and what you will change the next time you practice.
2. Read about some of the women recorded in the Bible who chose to extend compassion. Create a chart including the woman and reference, her actions, and ways God is calling you to follow her example. Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2:6-10), Hebrew midwives (Exodus 1), Ruth (Ruth 1-4), Mephibosheth's nurse (II Sam 4), the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17:17-24), the Jewish maid (II Kings 5:1-5, 14-15), the women at the tomb (Matthew 28), Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45), the women following Jesus (Luke 8), and Dorcas (Acts 9: 36-42).
3. Develop a list of resources that will provide you with the knowledge you need to develop menus for individuals with dietary challenges and food allergies.
Join us next Thursday Aug 4th for chapter seven: Hospitality and Culture
Feel free to link up below 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.