Summer of Hospitality #6 - Friendship and Food

Luke 10:38-42

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.””

In order to understand what hospitality is and what it’s not, we need only look to Luke 10 and observe two women who welcomed Jesus into their home—Mary and Martha. Here we learn about priorities—it’s more important to be with people, to spend time with our guests, than to fuss and be frustrated about all the housekeeping details. We choose our priorities by how we invest our time. Many of the Marthas of this world are frustrated perfectionists, and this includes men—hospitality is not exclusively a feminine task. We can be discouraged from entertaining because our standards are more important than the love we could be showing to others. Martha was in bondage to her standards.

The point of hospitality is not the lavishness of the food or surroundings, but on the relationships we develop and the love we convey by involving ourselves with others. The food we serve is not the goal, but a means to the goal. True hospitality is not pretentious—it is bringing people into our homes as honorary members of our family.

Do we really know what it’s like to linger over a meal? This may be a lost art in our fast-paced culture, where eating has been reduced to a necessary function. Go to any fast- food place, and the atmosphere, even the uncomfortable chairs are intentionally designed to get people in and out in a hurry. Some homes are like fast- food restaurants. Families rush through meals, and often do not even eat together, missing opportunities for closeness and communion. Take the opportunity over your next meal with friends or family to slow down, enjoy each others company, and build deep relationships that are meaningful.