Hospitality and Messyness

I think I can say that the honeymoon period of the Jubilee Food Pantry has officially ended.  Recently we have entered into a season of walking our faith out in the daily routine and sometimes monotony of life and finding an intense need to be relying on his Holy Spirit for joy, peace, and contentment.  Like many of you, Andy and I enjoy challenge, drama, and excitement, but there are seasons of life that are in, some perspectives, uneventful.  But I am seeing that this is where the challenge really is.  The challenge to find/see Him in the daily walk of life.  Every moment presents an opportunity.

And so, as we have prayed into this, He has given us a new perspective and a refreshing challenge to meditate on and teach our children.

Every Tuesday we have an unusual opportunity to teach our children the gift of Hospitality.  Our kids often struggle as other children, that they do not know well, come in and make a mess of our home.  Just a couple weeks ago our family decided to keep bedroom doors closed on Tuesdays because of the frustrations that came during and after food pantry hours.  The kids’ bedrooms were hit by a tornado of toys and made for cleaning up long, arduous and complainy.  After many kind attempts of asking the guests to help clean up, we decided that keeping the mess to one area was necessary for our family.

This was a good decision, however, here is the struggle; there is still a mess to clean up.

And the beautiful and challenging Opportunity reveals itself.  What is hospitality?  Why do we invite strangers into our home?  Who do we keep letting them mess up our home?  How are we going to continue this path every Tuesday and not become bitter, disillusioned, and ultimately invite a religious spirit to lead the ministry?

As parents, we are in the limelight.  In the heat of the moment, our children are watching.  When I clean the bathroom after Tuesday night and I am grumbling about the trails of stickyness that have gooped up the walls and doors of our home, my children will understand that attitude is okay.  They imitate.  When I look at the carpets and flop down all frumpy and grouchy while I scrub stains out, my children see my example and imitate.  So, what do I expect when their rooms are destroyed every Tuesday?  Hmmm…

We have an incredible Opportunity to take joy in cleaning the messes up.  The kids and I have been memorizing this verse:

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  2 Peter 1:3

Applying this to our family, God has given us everything we need for inviting the stranger into our home, serving and loving them.  Our children have been taught that everything means His Holy Spirit, or in Eva’s words, “all of God”.  Everything means power, love, joy, and the perspective to thank Him for the messes that we continually clean up.  Forgiveness.  In a sense we are forgiving over and over again, imitating Jesus.  He served and he loved over and over again until death on the cross.  And then, by His divine power, He gave us all of Him to do the same.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  Romans 12:13

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.  Hebrews 13:2

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  1 Peter 4:9

We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.  3 John 1:8

Teaching ideals can be taught by anyone, but teaching by example is the most faith sharpening and Gospel revealing parts of Christianity.  We do not know what hospitality truly is until we get to a place where we wonder why we are doing it.  Suddenly it becomes an opportunity rather than a constant mess to clean up.  I realize that by inviting the mess and acknowledging the exhaustion of cleaning up, I can then acknowledge and receive the only Power that can clean without growing tired.  He then, heals and cleans up me a bit more on the inside.

So, our family has decided to verbally speak out the Truth in these opportunities by saying, “Thank you, Jesus, for another chance to clean up someone’s mess.  You have given me everything I need to have joy while I clean.  Thank you for cleaning up my mess.”

Please pray for our family as we work out our faith.