When I was growing up, my family was well known as good “hospodar,” that is they were ready at the drop of a hat to offer a meal and smiles and accommodation to whoever came to our home. My father would happily welcome everyone to come in and begin to offer them some food and drink. My mother was well known to have a full meal for a car full of people within 15 or so minutes. I often was so in awe at her skill of impromptu meal preparation and I would ask myself, “Where on earth did she have all this food?” They were both good examples for me.
I still am learning how to be a good “hospoda/hostess” and how to have meals ready in as little time as possible. Today, I have an advantage in that a large well stocked freezer helps me to do what seems impossible.
I would ask, “Mom, how did you do it?” She would reply that when she was in prayer in the early part of her day, she had a sense to do certain food preparations, and was not consciously knowing that “company’s coming!” Now that I am older and benefiting from her wisdom, I too have had experiences of the urges to do volume cooking and before the end of the day, I end up with many friendly faces around our dining room table.
God is so good! He wants us to be ready. Whether we provide food for another’s body or another’s soul, we need to be ready! One of the best ways of being prepared for this is to be in prayer.
In Scripture it says, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)
The encouragement in scriptures to offer hospitality are:
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9)
We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth. (3 John 1:8)
We are to build the Kingdom of God with one another and offering hospitality is part of God’s direction for us. Lord, teach me how to be ready to offer hospitality and treat each guest as if it were You visiting our home.
But I must not stop at being hospitable only in my own home. I must also be hospitable everywhere I go, especially at Church.
I need to remind myself to be ready to welcome new people to our parish, to offer assistance to the elderly and new parents, to smile at everyone. Sometimes this is work for me. Some days I am tired and smiling is work. Some days, I need smiles too! After the Divine Liturgy we usually go for refreshments and visiting with everyone. Part of my hospitality could be a “listening ear” or an encouraging word for the altar server or deacon. When I pray and ask the Lord to help me to be sensitive and aware of who He wants me to be with and “love” them with the graces of hospitality, I am always surprised who He will have me spend time with. I am doubly blessed by the company of the other person and God’s encouragement for me to grow in my faith and understanding of His call on my life; to be available to know, love and serve Him through everyone He puts in my path. Glory to God!
God’s direction in Scriptures is clear about hospitality. This is an amazing tool to build His Kingdom, under His direction. Another word for this beautiful grace is “evangelization!”
Lord may I become a good hostess whether in my home or Church or anywhere I am, by Your graces and mercies. Lord, I know that You love me. Lord, grant me a teachable heart!
Copyright © 2012 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.