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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Showing Hospitality

True Southerners are known for their Sweet Tea and  their hospitality.  The words Southern and hospitality go together like bees at a picnic.

The dictionary defines Hospitality as the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way

Hospitality goes beyond simply a glass of tea.  Let's ask the who, what and how's of showing this generous spirit.

Who?  While Southerners are pretty much expected to be hospitable, Christians are especially encouraged to "Show hospitality without grudging."  That is, we're to do it without grumbling.  No whispers under out breath, no sighs or the rolling of the eyes.

What? What do we give?  We give our heart first.  The giving of anything, a glass of tea or a kind word, starts with my heart.  I do it because the love of Christ constrains me.   In other words, it pushes me forward, it motivates me to do what I do.  Maybe this is why us Southerners say, "Bless your heart."  =)  That is the foundation  of being hospitable.  Ask the Lord to open your heart to others, and then out of love for Christ, and that person, show them Christ's love.

How?  How will that look in every day living?

  • Be warm in greeting others in your home, in the store, or at church.  
    • Speak warmly to guests at church!  Introduce yourself.  Ask them to sit with you.  Show them where the restrooms are, the nursery or their Sunday school class. Invite them to go out to dinner with you, or be prepare ahead of time to invite folks home (the ultimate in hospitality!).
    • Remember you need to be the greatest servant, even to someone who serves you at the restaurant.  They aren't to be treated like you are better than they are.  Be kind.  Be patient.  "Bless their heart" when your meal is slow in coming!  Well, you know what I mean, right?  Don't give them grief!  Be generous with your time and your spirit.  
    • Make others feel the way you'd want to be treated in that situation.  If they're visiting your home, invite them in.  Offer them a chair and a beverage.  Think about their needs, not how inconvenienced you are at the timing of their visit.  
    • If you're in a line at the store, allow someone older to go ahead of you. Offer to take their cart to the corral if you're going there too. 
  • Be giving.
    • Give your ear to listen.  Sometimes this is the greatest way we can show we care.  
    • Give to a person's needs.  A meal, a snack or a bed to rest - whatever they need at the time.
    • Offer a meal to someone who is sick and can't come to your house.  Call and tell them you're bringing supper, then deliver it to them at mealtime.
  • Be friendly and loving.
    • A pat on the shoulder or a squeeze of the hand when someone shares their heart is certainly acceptable.  Show you care by your gestures.
    • Look people in the eye and say "Thank you."  Thank you for your service, your gift, your help, your kindness.
    • Pray for others that are hurting.  Pray with them.  Ask them how you can pray specifically for them that day.
    • Share the Gospel.  This is the best way to show you care!  Give the Gospel so they'll know your Savior and have a relationship with Him!  
You might not be southern, but you can show as much hospitality as a Tennessean at a Family reunion by practicing these simple principles.

Now, how about a glass of sweet tea, y'all?

With love,

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