Here are the next five principles for hospitality. For the first five you can see this post.
Sixth, practice makes perfect. Our first attempts at hospitality can be awkward. The food may not turn out. The conversation may fall flat. We might forget obvious things. But like anything, we get better with practice. As we have more people over and different types of people, we learn what works and what doesn’t, what we can handle and what cannot handle. We will find ways to start conversations and direct them and how to make our guests feel comfortable. Hospitality, like most things, becomes easier the more you do it.
Seventh, if you have children, include them in the preparation. Let them cook. Let them get out special toys for their guest. Help them to see the sacrifices and joys that come with having guests over. Make sure they help clean up when the guests are gone. This will give your children a vision for hospitality and serving. One word of warning though. Do not make your children work the entire time the guests are there. You enjoy time with the guests. Let them enjoy that time as well.
Eighth, there are no excuses for refusing to practicing hospitality. Hospitality is hard work. It is a lot easier to find “reasons” not to practice hospitality than it is to do it. However, hospitality is essential to our Christian life and witness. It is not a “get to it if we can.” It is something we have to do and get to do as followers of Christ. As I said my earlier post, we are all at different phases in our lives and this can limit what we can do. However, there is rarely a reason to never practice hospitality.
Ninth, we shouldn’t grumble as we practice hospitality. I Peter 4:9 tells us to practice hospitality without grumbling. Of course, we don’t grumble when guests are around. But there is always a temptation to grumble before they arrive or after they leave. We complain about the hard work as we get ready for our guests. We complain when our guests leave without saying thank you. We grumble about the problems our guests bring into our home or their children not being as well-behaved as they should be. All of that is sin. Grumbling mars the good work of hospitality.
Finally, don’t judge other people’s hospitality. In a hospitable church, it is easy to give sideways glances. We begin to wonder why one family rarely invites anyone over. Or maybe we wonder why another family seems to have everybody over all the time. We wonder why they have three children and we have three children, but they never invite families over and we always do. Jealousy, envy, and pride are constant temptations when we start to obey the commands of Scripture. Tend your own garden. Stop worrying about the garden across town.