“Hospitality isn’t the presenting of a carefully manicured façade, it’s the genuine sharing of your real self with others.”

What comes to mind when you hear the word “hospitality”? I tend to picture a 1950’s housewife with a roast in the oven, inviting a few friends over for the evening in her perfect home, with her perfect husband, and her perfect kids in tow. She wants to put her success as a “host” on display for any visitor that comes by. And while the quintessential picture of an American home has changed in the past seventy years, I’m afraid that most of us view our homes (and the act of welcoming people into them) fairly similarly.

If I were to ask you why you don’t invite more people into your home, what would the answer be? Chances are it would have something to do with the mess it is, the amount of work required to prepare for their arrival, the evidence of your daily routine that you find embarrassing, or the simple fact that you “don’t have enough room.” But what would happen if you did away with all of the expectations? What would happen if hospitality meant something different than simply “entertaining” others? What would happen if, whatever you had, whatever size it was, whatever state it was in, you determined to share it with others? Because this is exactly what we are called to as Christians:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 
-Romans 12:9–13, emphasis added

Hospitality is a radical act, especially in an isolated, individualistic city like Los Angeles. Hospitality isn’t the presenting of a carefully manicured façade, it’s the genuine sharing of your real self with others. Your home, the place where you live, the shelter that God has graciously and lovingly provided you, may be small, or messy, or disorganized, or out-of-date…but it’s your home. And there is no more loving and intimate act than to share your home with someone.

When we share our real selves with people we give them an opportunity to see the real Jesus through us. The power of Jesus, and his Spirit that now is at work within us, isn’t in the perfectly coordinated picture we present, but is in the unmerited grace and unconditional love he shows in the midst of the mess of life. And when we welcome people in close enough to see our limitations and our mess, we welcome them in to see the glory of our Savior.

Scott Mehl

Scott serves the church by overseeing leadership, development, global ministries, and counseling/discipleship.

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