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Several years ago, a coworker shared a profound secret with me.
I'll never forget what she said. It was so simple, yet so true: "When you entertain, you bring honor and glory to yourself. Showing hospitality brings honor and glory to God."
Think about it. Pride can easily sneak in when you entertain. The dinner you serve shows off your cooking abilities. Everything is clean and neat so guests are impressed with your home and homemaking skills. And, if the evening is enjoyable, everyone assumes it's because of your talents as a host or hostess. Why, all this focus on yourself can quickly lead to an inflated ego if you're not careful!
Hospitality, on the other hand, is not about impressing anyone. Itís about being yourself and making your guests feel comfortable to be themselves. It doesnít matter if you serve frozen pizza or if dust bunnies are scurrying across your floors. Through your warmth and humility, guests feel better about themselves and closer to God for having visited your home.
Do you have a special friend you love to visit? Is it because she serves 10-course meals on her finest china or because every corner of her home would pass the white glove test? Probably not. Neither extravagance nor perfection is what makes a visit enjoyable. Warm hospitality is what turns an ordinary evening into a memorable occasion. When you feel a little of Godís love extended to you through your host, you canít help but want to come again.
Romans chapter 12, verse 13 tells us to practice hospitality. Certainly there is a time and a place for entertaining, like when your spouse has important business clients in from out of town. But how often does that happen? Most guests in your home aren't there to be impressed. They would much rather kick back, relax and be treated like family.
Entertaining can be one of the biggest stressors of the holiday season. If the thought of trying to host picture-perfect social gatherings is a big worry for you this year, why not try showing hospitality instead? Forget about showing your guests what you can do. Try instead to show what God can do through you when you relax, be yourself and let Him worry about the dust bunnies hiding in the den!
Nancy Twigg is the editor of Counting the Cost, a free bi-monthly Christian e-zine devoted to everyday abundant living at its best. Topics include experiencing life more joyfully, using our time and money wisely, building stronger family relationships, and spiritual enrichment. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail message to email@example.com or visit Nancy online at www.countingthecost.com and subscribe there.