Monday, April 21, 2014

We're making it too hard, people

My dear husband sent me an article on hospitality.  He knows I'm "into" that sort of thing.  So, he told me to take a look at it.  Eight pages long. single spaced.

I had to print it out in order to get through it.  I feel obligated--not because I plan to write a book about hospitality, but because I actually "do" hospitality.

Anyway,  after reading this long article, all I could think is--really?

Each letter in this word HOSPITALITY was an acronym for some concept of character development on the part of the "hostess". H-- humble..  O--Obedient.. and so on.  Apparently, utter sanctification is required before the deed gets done.

At this rate, all the homeless people, orphans, widows, single, married, and everybody in the middle would be standing on the street rotting to shriveled up corpses before Mrs. Webber got her "sanctification on" enough to be hospitable.

I actually think that if we wait for godliness to hit us, we'll miss the very vehicle that God can use to get us there.  Essentially, the only thing you need to have in order is willingness to do it.  Everything else works itself out in the wash.

Another thing that articles and books do is intimidate the &*$# out of those of who are not "planners".  Why do people who plan assume that everyone else likes it that way?

I've never had guests over who didn't get something to eat or have a place to sleep.

When the author of these articles refers to hospitality as an "event" rather than a "lifestyle"--I instantly think they are making it too hard.  Granted.  Every so often, I plan "events".  I just invited 157 of my closest friends to graduation party.  O.K.  I am "planning" that event.

But regular run-of-the-mill weekly guests?  not so much.

Just last night.. I was sitting on the deck with two "guests" and said out loud, "I wonder what we should have for dinner??"  And a young man suggested "chicken on the grill".. And I said, "Fabulous!  Go downstairs, grab a bag of chicken from the freezer and grill it, OK?"

And he did.  The other guest sautéed veggies and made some pasta.  It was a grand time, and nobody felt burdened.  We all helped out, had fun, ate food and had great fellowship.

The house wasn't clean.  Things weren't planned.  I wasn't stressed out.  We ate. We talked.  We laughed.  We lit a fire  and just enjoyed the fresh, warm spring air.

I can not imagine exchanging the joy I have for something that feels like stress.  My sanctification is in process.  My home is in progress.  My ability/ desire to get excited about planning is also.. in progress.  But we're doing it.

Wouldn't you rather do something slightly imperfectly than not at.. all?

Hospitality.  It's that crazy thing that God uses to grow us and build his kingdom at the same time.

May I suggest that if you are feeling burdened by it that maybe you (or those people who write the books) are just making it too hard?

Maybe it is O.K. to just "do it" and see what happens?  How anyone can come up with something to say about hospitality that is longer than this post.. really baffles me.

How about this?

 Hospitality.  Just do it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Oh, and by the way, Get over yourself.  It's not about you.

pretty much
pretty much...

6 comments:

Laura Santos said...

At this rate, all the homeless people, orphans, widows, single, married, and everybody in the middle would be standing on the street rotting to shriveled up corpses before Mrs. Webber got her "sanctification on" enough to be hospitable.

Which is why so few people do it! Great article. Maybe if you changed to a really large font you might make up enough pages to call this post a book then sell it.

Bernadette Veenstra said...

Yes. My mom taught me never to apologize for the food or state of the house. We are sharing our life and blessing people, not impressing. I enjoy planning and using my nice dishes, but it isn't an event every time..

Kelly Duncan said...

Jena, I read your posts in your "voice" each time. LOVED this! Thanks!

Jena Webber said...

Laura Santos-- always appreciate your feedback. I wish you were my neighbor. :) Kelly D. a real life friend who reads my blog. That's special. :)
Bernadette-- your mom is wise!

AnnCecelia said...

Excellent thoughts.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

YES! My mom always said, "Turn the lights down, light some candles, and no one will notice the dust."

I am a planner, but good heavens, we don't need to over-think having someone over for soup and bread, or a BBQ, or popcorn and koolaid. I'm with Bernadette - sometimes it's fun to plan, and really do it up, but that's not what hospitality is. My mom (again with my mom - the queen of hospitality) showed me over the years that hospitality is about making people comfortable and welcome.

I wish we were neighbors!

Julie