Welcome back for our chapter 5 discussion on Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tatlock. This is part 5 of an eight week discussion on this book. Past chapter summaries can be viewed here: part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.We are so glad you decided to join us! I Even if you are not participating in the study, I encourage you to keep reading. Chapter 5 focused on Hospitality & Your Home.
What is a home? Is the opening question of this chapter. From a Biblical perspective, a home is to be a place of refuge and a center for evangelism.
1. The Home as a Place of Refuge
“Refuge, by definition, means a ‘shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.; anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief or escape.’” Our homes are to be places of refuge and protection first to those who reside there and secondly to those we welcome into our homes through hospitality.
According to Scripture the Christian home is to be a place of: refuge for those who have done wrong (Num. 35:6, 11-15); safety (Num. 35:25-28); security – a stronghold that is safe from the hostility of the world (2 Sam. 22:3); and a place of refreshment to those who communicate the gospel (Luke 10:38-42; Acts 9:35-10:23).
One lady shares “her husband taught her that she does not need to leave her front door to be ministering. As she prepares a nice meal for her family and makes her home a haven, she is truly ministering to them.” Many other examples are given of ladies who freely welcome in individuals and families according to the sphere of influence God has placed them in. The key here, I believe, is to prayerfully seek out and ask, “who around me needs a place of refuge?’
2. The Home as a Center for Evangelism
The church of our generation has centralized all programs of evangelism and outreach to happen within the church setting, with the use of all their professional materials and methods. According to Scripture, “you find that the home, not the church, served as the center of evangelism in the early expansion of Christianity.Michael Green writes, ‘One of the most important methods of spreading the gospel in antiquity was the use of homes.’”
The chapter continues highlighting the blessings and benefits of consecrating your china for the Master’s use and holding tea parties as a tool for hospitality. This has been an excellent means for me to demonstrate hospitality in the past as you can read about here for more ideas. What tools do you have that could be consecrated for the Master’s use? It doesn’t have to be limited to china. What tools are sitting around your house collecting dust that could be dedicated and used more effectively for hospitality?
This quote by Vonette Bright stood out to me: “Hospitality is more than entertaining. IT is expecting God to do great things through you as you reach out to touch the lives of others. It is focusing our relationships, especially the greatest relationship of all – walking and talking with the Lord Jesus Christ. True hospitality doesn’t wear us out or make us feel pressured; life-sharing is not entertaining in our own strength. It flows from a heart full of love for others. Christ’s love, which doesn’t come from our own self-effort, is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The love of Christ is what draws people to God. This loves transforms a party or other event into true hospitality. Hospitality, then, is not an event; it is genuine concern for another’s well-being.”
Viewing our homes from a Biblical perspective as a place of refuge and evangelism gives such power and perspective to our demonstration of hospitality. It is not just about entertaining, but living out Christ’s love before others. As wives and mothers, we don’t have to leave our front doors in order to be effective ministers of the gospel! We don’t have to be involved in full-time ministry in the church or through some outside ministry…full-time ministry starts in loving and serving our families and then extending that same welcoming love to others. How can I welcome others into what I am already doing for my own family? I want to begin asking and prayerfully evaluating together with my husband, “who in my vicinity needs a place of refuge?”
After praying about this recently, the Lord put international students upon my heart. These individuals come to America without any family or friends and are often very open to the gospel because of this vulnerability. We have had several opportunities to invite these students into our home and now we are praying about having a monthly waffle/game/Bible study night and welcome groups of students into our home. God may have another group of people that He has placed on your heart. How can you purposefully begin to open your home to them?
We will continue this book next time, Monday, March 23, with chapter 6: Hospitality & Others. If you are interested in joining us, please do. Order your copy today here!
I am interested in hearing what you took away from this chapter. Feel free to post comments below or write your thoughts on your blog (and come back and post the link in the comments). No need to share anything profound, just whatever stood out to you. Here are a few questions to get you started:
1. What insights did you glean on viewing your home as a place of refuge and evangelism?
2. How can you make your home more of a haven first to your family and then to others?