Thursday, September 12, 2013

Intentionally Spontaneous Hospitality

Have you ever been an answer to prayer?

Back in the 80s when we lived in Lima, Peru, an American man and his two teenage sons showed up at our church one Sunday. Ex-pats tend to gravitate toward each other, so of course we talked to them. During the course of the conversation, we asked if they would like to come to our house for lunch. Three hungry men being offered home cooked food? Yes, please!

We found out that the father was a representative for a mission seeking to find unreached tribes to bring Christians to them with the gospel. The father-son outing they had just been on had taken them to the jungles to look for almost unseen trails and broken twigs in hopes of finding an unreached tribe. Not your basic father-son camping trip, that!

Photo Credit: ID Campbell

While we were eating dessert, the father said to us "Actually, this meal is an answer to prayer. We fly back to the states tonight. We have enough money to get a taxi to the airport, but didn't have any cash to buy lunch, so before we walked over to the church today, we prayed that God would provide lunch."

Wow, we were an answer to prayer. Thank you, Lord, that You put it in our hearts to obey, even if we were just looking for a chance to speak English to some Americans

One time when we were on furlough an immigration situation for our adopted child left me in a missionary apartment with three small children while my husband traveled to meetings outside the country for 10 days. 

Sunday morning I got the kids ready to drive to church, but I just didn't have the energy to think about lunch. I prayed, "Lord, could you please have someone invite us for lunch?" To show my faith I packed extra diapers and the little ones' bibs in the diaper bag.

As I was putting the kids in their coats to leave church a woman looked at me and said, "Would you like to go to lunch with us?" I hope I didn't startle her with my enthusiastic response! We went to a fast food roast beef sandwich place. It was perfect--kids fed quickly, a toy surprise, and some adult fellowship for me. Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer.

Want to get in on the fun?

Some suggestions:

  1. Have plenty of food ready. If you don't end up having someone over, you've got leftovers for another night!
  2. Have the fixings for back-up salad or veggie in the fridge. They can fill up on the variety.
  3. Serve bread.
  4. Don't apologize -- not for the quality, quantity, state of your house, or late invitation. Just welcome them into your home and they'll be thrilled.
  5. Plan to have an unplanned guest (or two). Ask God to make you aware of those around you who could use the blessing. You might see them at work, the store, or church. 
You never know when you'll be an answer to prayer!

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Do you know someone who would like some inspiration for family mealtimes? Please send them to this blog! Thank you.

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  1. Such a neat post! I need to practice this more. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. It's a good reminder to me, too. I don't do it as much as I should.

  2. We keep rice and noodles in the house all the time so that if we have unexpected guests we can stretch the meal! My favorite point from the post was the no apology! Just be an answer!

    1. Great idea, Helene! Yes, apologizing makes it uncomfortable for them as we seem to be doing the hospitality grudgingly. Be the answer, enjoy the guest, let them enjoy the hospitality.

  3. We just recently had an incredible, somewhat spontaneous hosting evening and it was such an incredible blessing to everyone. Not only did it leave me feeling so full, it reinforced our desire to willingly and frequently open our home. And this post did the same :)

  4. Sharon, this is absolutely beautiful, and I'm so glad I found you at Connie's Say it Saturday! My favorite was #4! I like your statement, "To show my faith I packed extra diapers and the little ones' bibs in the diaper bag". Seems to me that going through your 5 Suggestions of Intentional Spontaneity would serve the same purpose: "I'm ready- help me find someone who needs all this chicken spaghetti!" :)

    Thank you!

    Love, Joy

  5. We used to open our homes to foreign students so they could have a typical American meal in a typical American home. One evening I served pot roast, thinking you can't get much more American than pot roast. Our South American guest started crying in the middle of the meal. When I apologized for whatever had caused her distress, she said, "No, it's not that. Everything is lovely. It just made me homesick because this is what my grandmother serves us every Sunday for dinner."

  6. I am washing hall runners and throw rugs and tomorrow will mop the floor. My guest is not expected until the end of the week, but I move slow so I need time to get ready. Food is not a problem. God is good

  7. What a wonderful story -- to be able to help someone in need like that.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  8. Thanks so much for this encouraging (and challenging) post!
    I love your suggestion to not apologize. Concerns about things like the house not being perfectly clean or the invitation being late often hold me back. I need to invite people over anyway!

  9. Thank you so much for joining All Things Pretty we hope to see you back on Thursday



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