I get so much joy in coming up with the ideas for a party, decorating the house, and deciding on the food. Some parties call for a more elaborate theme and decor. These parties need invitations, take great preparation, and are a bit more formal. While just as fun, others just need paper plates, simple, fresh flowers, and very little planning. The invitation will probably come by text at the last minute.
I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the women were discussing hospitality. These women are all more introverted, and while they wanted to want to host parties, it sometimes felt more like an obligation. Until they found their sweet spot of entertaining. They learned how many people they were comfortable hosting, what parties they enjoyed and which foods left them room for being with their friends and not spending the evening in the kitchen.
While these things are fabulous, there is undoubtedly more to the gifting of hospitality than having themes, fun, and food. Genuine hospitality is caring and giving of yourself, time, and talents.
Genuine hospitality is caring and giving of yourself, time, and talents.
Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 1 Samuel 25:18-20 NIV
Abigail is forced to become a hostess quickly, and she must do it well. Her husband has insulted David and David is mad. 1 Samuel 25:1-17. We can see her skills of welcoming are strong as she orders up a fantastic amount of the best food to take out to David and his men.
I know Nabal is a wealthy man and has servants and such. But can you imagine coming up with this much food so quickly? While I love to host a party, we are having pizza for sure if it comes up this quickly!
Abigail knew David could ruin her entire family, her way of life. The choices she makes in those first few minutes are tragically important. The ESV uses the term Abigail made haste; she needed to decide quickly without being rash. Instinctively, she orders up an amazing amount of food, bread, and dressed sheep to meet their immediate physical needs, but she also adds in some cakes to offer something extra and probably to cool David’s temper down so she could speak to him. The wine skins and roasted grain were highly valued products in their culture and a great extra to show her respect for them.
Abigail uses her gift of hospitality to deter a coming battle. She makes wise choices as she shares the best she has to offer.
Abigail uses her gift of hospitality to deter a coming battle.
We rarely think of hospitality to stop a battle, but maybe we should. Did you know that church membership has dropped below 50% for the first time in the United States since they started recording such data in 1937? This surprised me, but maybe it shouldn’t. There is so much division and even hatred, some of which is related to Christian ideology, that I guess it was inevitable.
I believe that opening our homes is going to be the best ways to introduce new believers and nonbelievers to Jesus. If we offer our best compassion, patience and love as we welcome people into our homes, they will see Jesus and be more open to talking about Him.
Christian churches in the middle east use hospitality to reach people with brilliant success. Christians and missionaries thrive from being together and holding all things in common. (Acts 2:44) Were you aware that Iran has the fastest growing Christian church in the world right now.
In Acts 2:42-47 we see this same hospitality and the growth of the new church coincide. Could this be part of the answer to growing God’s kingdom now? One by one, we invite people to our homes, get to know them and share our Savior as they get to know us and trust us?
Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being served.
In a broken world that is filled with chaos, if we all start with just one - one person, one family, one Bible study - then, perhaps as a community, we will reach the masses. What one could you invite this week that could make a difference?