Do you have a sense of community?
Do you feel a connection to your town, neighborhood, or church?
I think community is one of the most important aspects of our life. Who do we serve? Who do we rely on? Who shovels our snow, brings us cookies or prays for our needs in difficult times?
Maybe you don't have a real connection with a specific place or group. Maybe you are new to your neighborhood or hesitant to reach out. I agree that it is not always easy. We recently moved this past fall, and we only know two other couples in this area. It is a new neighborhood, so everyone is sort of in the same boat. We took over Christmas cookies to the family next door, and the other night she came over with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. She said she had really wanted to come over sooner, but had been busy unboxing things. We had a great visit with her, and look forward to working on some yard work together this spring.
Connection. Community. This is all part of hospitality - True hospitality. The kind that reaches out and shares life with others.
Christine D. Pohl, in her book, Making Room, Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, says:
"Our hospitality both reflects and participates in God's hospitality. It depends on a disposition of love because, fundamentally, hospitality is simply love in action. It has much more to do with the resources of a generous heart than with sufficiency of food or space..."
I am so thankful for all the many people in my life who have "loved on" me and my family. It is a humbling thing sometimes, because for many it is easier to give than receive. There have been so many times people did the unexpected and blessed us by caring for us. It is not about a fancy house or being the best cook, it's about being willing. It's about opening your heart to others.
Here are a few ways you can reach out:
- Take a meal to someone: To an older couple, to a young family who feels overwhelmed, to someone just back from the hospital.
- Invite someone over for coffee and a treat. Nothing fancy. Just simple.
- Ask someone if you could watch their child for a couple hours while they go to the grocery store.
- Shovel snow from someone's driveway or walkway.
- Send (yes, snail mail) someone a card or note.
- Host a BBQ in your backyard. Make it easy. I guarantee people will ask what they can bring. LET THEM. That might be hard if you have specific ways you want to do things, but let them contribute.
These are just a few simple ideas. There are hundreds more. By making others feel welcome, you are forming a connection with them. Some people may never return a gesture but that's okay. God wants us to give without expecting anything.
Mother Teresa said, "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. "
I am praying for you, dear reader, that you will make a plan to do something for someone this very day.
"Be hospitable to one another without complaint, as each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." 1 Peter 4:9-10