Jerusha: I’m honored to host hospitality expert and encourager, Sue Moore Donaldson, today! Especially since she’s offering a convicting message about hospitality, please join me in giving Sue a big Fear Warrior community welcome!
By Sue Moore Donaldson
“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed” – Hudson Taylor
One night while walking with my mom around our neighborhood, I said quietly, “Mom, I’m willing to be a missionary except I am afraid of snakes.” She was a mother of five; snakes were the least of her concerns. I was fifteen. I didn’t like snakes.
Many years later, I came precariously close to a slender and fast-moving reptile in Central Mexico. Five years after that, I viewed a huge python through glass at a zoo in Brazil. In my thirties, a friend and I noticed some quick movement outside the screened windows in our house in Papua New Guinea. We stayed inside.
I had my fears at fifteen. They didn’t all include snakes. I could’ve stayed home. No one would blame me. Most people don’t like snakes. But there’s this thing called The Great Commission. Here it is:
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
It’s a Great Commission because a great God called us to a grand job. If I think too hard about the grandness of the job, I think, “Snakes!” and stay inside. Too scary.
What does all this talk of missionaries and snakes and Grand Pronouncements have to do with hospitality?
We give God our lives at salvation—not just to be saved. No. We give our lives–and keep giving them to Him–to invite others to that same life. And a good way to do that is at our tables. One cup of coffee at a time.
It’s a matter of love–His and ours.
I asked a bunch of women what kept them from doing hospitality. There were fears. Lots of them.
Here are some of their answers:
- fear of not knowing how
- fear that it’s too big a deal – can’t fulfill others’ expectations
- fear of not knowing what to talk about
- fear you may poison your guests
- fear you don’t have enough time, money, or energy
- fear of rejection – being turned down when asking someone over
- fear of being compared with others
Wow. If I had to face all my fears in one day, I would never have anyone over! Maybe you feel the same. (And you don’t have anyone over.)
When I’m scared of hospitality, it’s because I have the wrong idea.
Hospitality isn’t entertaining.
The focus of entertaining is often the host. The focus of hospitality is the guest. The purpose of entertaining is often to impress. The purpose of hospitality is to serve. Like Jesus did. He gave His life for love.
God doesn’t say – “Go and make disciples and maybe you need to start in your kitchen” – so that we start on another guilt trip with no rest stops in sight.
No. Our heed to God’s call is a response to His love.
God’s hospitality is a matter of love–for us. Our hospitality is a matter of love—for God. If not, it won’t last.
I love having people over, but that’s not the love I’m talking about. We know we should love people enough to invite them, but that’s not the love I’m talking about.
Hospitality is a matter of love, but it’s our love for God that’s at stake. Do we love Him…enough to obey Him?
“Be hospitable” is not a suggestion for the extroverts and good cooks. Nope. It’s for all Christ-followers. It can be scary. Worse than snakes.
Next time God says, “You need to invite that gal over. She is lonely. She needs Me” –you may say, “Yes, Lord, I will but I’m scared to death.”
This is why you do it, anyway: The Ultimate Host invited first, out of love. Then we pass on the invitation. Invited to invite.
That’s it. That’s the reason. That’s why we do hospitality. Fears and all. Snake soup and all. All for love.
Invited to invite.
Does fear keep you from inviting people to your home? Which fear from Sue’s list is your toughest to beat? Please share!
Sue Moore Donaldson speaks and writes to introduce God’s welcoming heart—inviting you to know the Ultimate Host and pass on His invitation. She and her husband Mark live on the Central Coast of California and have raised three semi-adult daughters (which means she’s always at the bank or on her knees).
Sue blogs at Welcome Heart and is a frequent speaker for women’s events. You may view her speaking topics here. Connect with Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. For more encouragement on how to show hospitality, join the Facebook group, Welcome Heart, Welcome Home, where Sue and others talk about all things hospitality!
Sue is giving away her ebook, “Invited to God’s Table,” and a printable placemat, “Thanking God Through the Alphabet,” for you and your family when you subscribe to her newsletter here.
For more from Sue, check out her books (available on Amazon or at www.welcomeheart.com/shop): Come to My Table: God’s Hospitality and Yours, Hospitality, 101: Lessons From the Ultimate Host-A 12-Week Bible Study, Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside
Come to My Table explores the “gospel of hospitality,” and gives practical tips to encourage the most hesitant host. Recipes and pantry ideas included, as well as 25 theme party ideas and 60 tried and true tips for the truly tired.
Does God want the whole world in your living room? Probably not. But He does want you to invite.
Who in your world has not seen your kitchen sink? It’s time. Trust Him for the courage to be His welcome.