Open Heart, Open Home
I recently finished reading Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains. This book caught my attention because if you have been following this blog, you probably know that I have purposed in my heart to work on hospitality.
Although I cannot fully endorse everthing in this book, I think that overall it is worth reading. Some parts were a slow read for me so I skimmed over them and just got to the good stuff. It took me 31 years to realize it's okay to do that! :)
I will share some specific things that I found to be especially thought-provoking from my reading. And, hopefully whether you're someone like me who has to try.really.hard at hospitality in my home (mostly for dinners and big groups I struggle) or if you're someone that entertaining comes as natural to you as breathing, I hope you can take something away from this. Regardless, "for all (entertaining) must be nurtured."
So, here we go...
"In this inhospitable world a Christian home is a miracle to be shared." Have you ever thought of that before? To welcome poeple into our home ought to be a peek into heaven. (You know, where the people that live together actually get along and all that good stuff.) :)
When speaking of her own home, Karen said, "It was a modest home but it served the kingdom well." So, no matter how big or small our home is, no matter how well (or not so well) it is decorated, is of no consequence. If we give our homes to God He can use them no matter what.
"True hopsitality comes before pride. It has nothing to do with impressing people, but everything to do with making them feel welcome and wanted." I once heard the quote, "If you're stopping over to see me, come any time. If you're stopping over to see my house, make an appointment!" This helps take some of the self-inflicted pressure off myself when I have a friend over. The point is to fellowship with each other, not have my guest do a "white glove" test of my house!
The author shares a time of when her house was a mess and a guest stopped by and she refused to embarass the guest by offering her apologies for the unsightly house. The guest said, "I used to think you were perfect but now I think we can be friends!" See, some times it pays to have a messy house. You make new friends! :)
"Essential to hospitality is that the open heart results in the open house. These two elements--an open heart and an open home--are potential in every Christian, male or female, married or single. Each has a heart the Spirit is seeking to move with the things that move the heart of God. Each has a home--be it a small room, a modest flat, or a mansion--in which we can practice hospitality."
Basically she also says that secular entertaining is about impressing others while hospitality is about serving others. "Entertaining always puts things before people. Hospitality...puts people before things."
One of the most encouraging thoughts I came away from this book was that hospitality can look different than just opening up your home and having people over for dinner.
Hospitality can be shown by taking homemade bread to someone who is ill, taking a meal to a new mom or someone who had surgery, "steadying the arm of that elderly person in the midst of jostling crowds...comforting that...child in the store whose 'Mommy got lost', listening to the middle-aged woman who insists on talking during the entire train trip" and so much more. "This created world is a vast hostel in which we can practice hospitality and courtesy and openness."
Finally, she deals briefly with overcoming limitations to hospitality such as finances, space and self-imposed limitations and then suggests creative alternatives.
So, that gives you a peak into the book. I found it to be helpful in spurring me on this area of my life. Also, read Isaiah 58:6-9 & Luke 14: 12-14.
Thanks for reading this post!