Receiving hospitality feels great.
That moment when someone has gone out of their way, to make us feel welcomed and comfortable. When we feel like we belong in a place that is not our home. Generosity given in abundance, outside of what would ever be expected.
This weekend, we experienced hospitality.
The key to our trip 6 years ago was to hike the famous Chilkoot Trail. But before setting off on our trek, we had the pleasure of staying in an incredible cabin/B&B. Some of the most generous hospitality we’ve ever experienced.
I’m pleased to say, that the place hasn’t changed one bit in 6 years. The owners, Fred and Kathy, are trademark examples of what hosts should be. They understand and are truly gifted in their ability to provide hospitality to their guests.
Some may say, “Well, you’re paying for it.” And in fact, we are to some degree. However, comfort only goes so far, even in the hospitality industry. There is a difference.
This couple is generous with their time.
Kathy truly wants to know who each guest is. Though she’s busy running from chore to chore, she understands that a meaningful conversation and well-placed encouragement sets the bar that much higher.
Fred quietly cares for everyone’s wellbeing; working on facilities and stoking the campfire on a regular basis. But Fred goes the extra mile as well.
The brown bear incident proved that.
When a bear strolled into the area on Saturday morning, Fred didn’t just make sure their guests were aware. He got in his truck and drove down the road to the State Park campsite, letting each camper know of the potential danger.
For us, we didn’t lock the cabin door. We got in our vehicle and had an amazing time, watching this incredible animal get its fill of wild cranberries. Quite the experience!
These are just a couple of examples of how this couple surpasses what would be considered good customer service. They are generous with their time and energy, even when they don’t have to.
As always, the church came to mind.
Hospitality is defined as, “The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” (Dictionary.com)
When a guest or stranger walks into your church, you likely greet them kindly, hand them a bulletin and direct them to their seat. Perhaps, you go one step further and point out where the coffee is.
This can qualify as a warm, friendly way of receiving a guest or stranger, as our definition explains.
What about that word, “generous“?
In Acts 28, Luke explains, “There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days.” (28:7)
Generosity makes all the difference.
It’s one thing to provide the service or level of care that is expected. (i.e. What has been earned, paid for or what is prudent to offer when guests arrive.)
However, providing generous hospitality, going above and beyond what is expected, completely changes the hospitality experience. As Believers, this kind of generous hospitality is what we’re called to.
So how do we change our approach?
The short answer is generous hospitality is going to cost us. When we go without something, so that a guest or stranger can receive it, we’re starting down the road to generous hospitality.
I believe time is the key.
It’s fairly easy to throw a few extra coins in the plate or even to buy someone a meal. After all, our busy lives reveal packed schedules with little room to do much else.
But that’s where generous hospitality begins. In this day and age, time is expensive!
Time is money…
…and energy, and work, and family, and friends, and hobbies, etc. In order to give someone our time, there is no way to get it back. When we give away our time, we have to move something else out of its place.
Since we’re locked into items like work and family, it means we’ll have to give up something that we enjoy. Recreation time, sports, hobbies or social time with friends.
We have to give our time away.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Heb. 13:2)
As Believers, we should be sensitive to who’s walking through the doors of our churches. Before we shake their hands, we must mentally recognize that this stranger deserves the utmost generosity of everything we have.
Even if that means, giving of our precious time.
When’s the last time you were impacted by generous hospitality? How was the gift of time a factor?