Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels. Hebrews 13:2
On Friday I had this feeling of fear in my gut and thought “I’m having eight perfect strangers over to my house for dinner tomorrow night! What am I thinking?”
I love to entertain! I loved making the invitations, hanging the balloons and streamers and decorating the cakes for the kids birthday parties. I’ve hosted the big Rauscher Family Thanksgiving HooHa for the last 10 years. I’ve opened my doors to my tennis teams, bible study friends, neighborhood gatherings and large women’s groups. I’ve done surprise parties, office parties, baby and bridal showers and intimate dinners. It may not be magazine worthy, but I’ve always loved opening my home to guests. Have you ever been a part of a group where you just didn’t know the individuals in the group? Many of us go to church every Sunday to not only listen to rich biblical teaching and to worship God through singing and prayer, but also to have relationships with the person sitting next to us and even across the aisle.I have a group of friends that I always have to hug and say hello to each week after the service. But wouldn’t my life be even richer if I knew that person on the other side of the aisle? I have been a part of groups where I have attended meetings for many years and didn’t really know anyone or felt very alone. How do we get to know that person across the aisle, across the room or across the street? My friend, Zina, also staff member at our church, decided to try to do something about this problem. She came up with the idea of “Home Gatherings”. The plan was to have several homes as host sights on different nights. Then people would sign up for a night they would like to attend online. The participants signing up did not know who was hosting or who was attending. Zina then took all the names and placed them in homes. The goal was to have each gathering with a mix of ages, interests, and time been at the church that could fit around your table for a meal.As a host, I did not know who was coming to my table until a week before. It was my responsibility to contact each person to give them the important information like my address and menu, but not reveal who else would be there. It sounds like a crazy idea, right? Well the first Home Gathering I did was with women only. Easy Peasy. It was so fun for me to watch my guests as the doorbell rang each time. “Oouuu! I wonder who it is!” (As good Southern women do, there was lots of squealing and hugs.) As we ate our chicken dinner, we shared funny stories and were shocked at the many different connections we already had to one another. This past weekend, Superman and I hosted another Home Gathering. This time with couples! Again, I love coming up coming up with a menu, decorating, making flower arrangements, lighting candles and thinking of the little things that will make my guests comfortable. But interestingly enough, the day before the dinner I thought “What the heck am I doing?!? I am having eight strangers coming over for dinner tomorrow night!” I guess the “men” part was throwing me. Or maybe satan just wanted to mess this great thing up, which he is prone to do. But with loving and encouraging advice from my sweet daughter, I got my courage again and opened our home to eight wonderful people on Saturday night. With bowls of chili and cornbread, we went around the table sharing stories about ourselves. We made connections, laughed and had learned so much about one another. I tried to make sure that everyone was involved in the conversation by pulling out my Chat Box. Inside the box are cards with conversation starters, like “If you could have 50lbs of anything other than money, what would you want most of all?” It’s a great tool if you have guests that are shy or ones who want to dominate the conversation.
In the end, I know eight more people who are interesting, funny, and kind. I feel blessed by their company. My prayer is that they too felt welcomed and loved that evening.
When’s God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
I hope this gives you the courage to offer hospitality to a stranger.
My door is always open, so Come on over!