Hospitality is a Gift

“We are staying with Cricket!” is what I told our daughter as we prepared to go to Washington, D.C. …and we are still here as I write this blog. On the 6 plus hour trip Collins asked, “Who is Cricket, Mom? I have never heard you talk too much about her.” I reminded Collins that Cricket was the one who delivered a birthday basket to Brewer when he was working his first job in D.C. and had to work on his birthday.

I shared with her that Cricket was a dear friend from my Clemson days, a college friend, but the business of life and distance and kids had kept us from staying in close touch. I continued to tell her that Cricket was one of those people that was so sincere, kind and genuine. One of those friends that you can just pick up with wherever you left off.

Honestly, I couldn’t wait for Collins to experience Cricket. I knew that she was in for a unique experience of love, kindness, and hospitality from someone who was a complete stranger to her. She even asked me, “Mom, isn’t it kind of weird that we are staying in her home for a week when you haven’t seen her in years?” My response was a simple, “Nope!” You see, Collins didn’t know Cricket.

As I write this post, I have to add just a side note: I went to bed last night while Collins chose to stay up and visit with Cricket and Craig. They are new best friends. Didn’t surprise me at all and this is only our second night here. I smile as I finished my quiet time this morning. What did I read and study this morning? Haha! 1 Peter 4:7-10, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

God does this a ton in my life. He puts in my life current examples and experiences of scripture that I am studying or about to study. Each demonstrates exactly what the passage looks like lived out in the flesh. Cricket’s gift of hospitality is a gift on “steroids!” Allow me to give you a brief description of our personal experience of hospitality so far–fresh flowers in our room and bathroom, chocolates on our pillows at night, a home cooked meal with Nestle Tollhouse pie for dessert and Cricket driving us all around Washington, D.C. at dusk so that Collins could experience the beauty of the city at night. This was all after Cricket had worked all day and got home just as we were driving in the driveway as well.

Then Cricket stayed up into the wee hours of the night getting to know Collins long after I was probably in “REM sleep.” Wow! is all I can say. Yesterday I was thinking that I needed to do a better job of making sure I do everything I can to make our house guests feel welcomed and cared about. This is a way to “Live out loud” the love of Christ.

Understand this was in my thoughts after experiencing Cricket’s over-the-top hospitality and lovingkindness. Then a funny thing happened yesterday. I received a text from Denise Hoft, our Women’s Ministry Chair at our church, about hosting the guest speaker for our women’s ministry event to be held in November. NO coincidence. I am convinced that God had me learn from Cricket some amazing things and He knew my thoughts. He has already given me an opportunity to put my newfound hospitality tips in play. Thank God He has given me until November to prepare….LOL. If you know me, you know I need a little time and practice.

Cricket is no stranger to me but she was to Collins. Collins has now experienced Cricket living out the scripture in Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Collins will be the first to tell you that she is “no angel” but nonetheless she has had a fabulous example to learn from, and so have I, as to how to “live scripture” out loud to people who come to our home and our town.

Dee Brestin in her Bible study on hospitality shares this written by Karen Mains. “Entertaining says, ‘I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating, my gourmet cooking’…Hospitality, however, seeks to minister. It says, ‘This home is not mine. It is truly a gift from my Master. I am His servant and I use it as He desires.’ Hospitality does not try to impress, but to serve.” I have been given such a great model of this definition this week. May God provide us all with opportunities to serve in this way.

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