My Wife and True Hospitality

Jana is gifted in the area of hospitality. Given her way, she would gladly have folks in our home at all hours. This is an area where I’m being stretched because alot of the time I’m a sullen introvert. And I’m lazy.

But here’s the interesting thing about Jana’s hospitality. She doesn’t believe that everything has to be perfect in order to have people come over. The meal doesn’t have to be just right and the house doesn’t have to be spotless. Don’t get me wrong – she does alot to prepare for people coming over, but to her, those things aren’t paramount in the virtue of hospitality. To her, hospitality in its best and truest form, is inviting someone to enter your life. Not your fake life, but your real life.

That means inviting someone into how bedtime works with the kids. Or to watch a reality TV show. Or to fold laundry. Or play a board game. Whatever. It’s an invitation into our family, as we life our lives.

I think she’s onto something here. Let me quote a little from Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner:

God’s creation gives us a model for making and sharing homes with people, but the reality of God’s Trinitarian life suggests that Christian hospitality goes further than that. We are not meant simply to invite people into our homes, but also to invite them into our lives. Having guests and visitors, if we do it right, is not an imposition, because we are not meant to rearrange our lives for our guests—we are meant to invite our guests to enter into our lives as they are. It is this forging of relationships that transforms entertaining (i.e., deadly dull cocktail parties at the country club) into hospitality (i.e., a simple pizza on my floor). As writer Karen Burton Mains puts it, ‘Visitors may be more than guests in our homes. If they like, they may be friends.’

Jana gets it; I want to get it. My life is messy, and many times, so is our house. It is true community, whether in reference to our home or the lives contained therein, to be able to say, “Welcome.”

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  • Ashley says:

    what a great reminder. I needed this today…

  • Hoppe says:

    So when do I get to come over??? 😉

  • Shannon says:

    Seriously fantastic to hear! I can relate!

  • Beth Holmes says:

    That is so it … and something that I think we all struggle to balance. I find that it’s especially hard in ministry, because we have to be “on” for people so much of the time, and home is sometimes the only real sanctuary we have. So, we work to balance between the time that we need to refresh and rest ourselves, and the biblical command to show hospitality.

  • eric says:

    Great thoughts, Michael. And great example, Jana. (And for the record, I’ve seen messy and your house is not that.)

    If we take Paul’s description of the body seriously (see, e.g., the last half of Ephesians 2), there are huge theological implications to welcoming others into our homes and our lives. We are bringing other people into the presence – the very dwelling place, if you will – of God. We are recognizing God’s existence and activity in us regardless of whether there is laundry on the couch or dishes in the sink. And we are actively communicating to those around us that they, too, can move toward God’s presence without having to check their bags at the door.

    Much more than social hour, indeed.

  • Jana Kelley says:

    That is really sweet of you, Michael. I’m gonna go clean the house now. haha.

    Seriously though, come one, come all! We’re having beef stew tonight.

  • Amy Wright says:

    I’m never cleaning my house for guests again and I’m making them fold the laundry. 🙂

  • Michael K. says:

    Great points all – glad to see you guys love and value my wife as much as I do.

    And also, maybe I won’t have to vacuum this weekend.

Comments are closed.