Have you ever filled out one of those Spiritual Gifts Assessments?
I remember in the past answering the questions a bit
dishonestly ignorantly, not only because I didn’t really have a lot of experience to go on, but also because I had in mind what I assumed were expected or acceptable gifts for a young woman (and also ones that were not really that scary to me -Tongues and Healing, anyone?!) So, lo and behold – Kirsten is gifted by the spirit for Encouragement and Service and Hospitality!
I’d think my naivety was adorable if I wasn’t so busy laughing at how wrong I was.
Recently my husband and I were talking specifically about the gift of Hospitality and while I make an effort to invite friends, families and students into our home on a regular basis, it’s simply not an area where I really shine.
But when I pause to think about it, being a hostess is probably one of the most realistic ways that I can actually be the hands and feet of Jesus. Because yes, God is King and Creator and Judge and Savior and all that, but God is also our Host. The one who initiates, creates, plans and invites.
He is the Host who invites himself over when I’d rather just keep the door closed because my house is a mess.
When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.
He is the Host at whose banquet table we all belong.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
He is the Host who graciously and joyfully receives the awkward gift you bring to the party
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
He is The Host who knows the hell your life has been, and offers you what you don’t even know you need.
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.
He is The Host of abundant loaves, fishes and oh yes the very best wine.
He is The Host who leaves the best seat at the head of the table to serve the rest.
He is The Host cooking me fresh fish on the beach after I betrayed him to death.
He is The Host slaughtering the fattened calf because after years of running away I have finally returned home.
On a hillside or in a boat or at a well or in the dining room or at a wedding, He is Host.
In my room or in the sanctuary or on the street, He is Host.
When I remember who God is, as I remember his Holiness and Salvation and Power, may I also remember His hospitality.
On bad days I sit and pick at the food, mostly talking while He listens.
On good days I help in the kitchen and go around to talk to other guests, delighting in how much fun this party is!
He is the Host who doesn’t mind me coming through the door exhausted, crying, hopeless, helpless, wounded, scared, rambling, and starving because, after all, He is the one who invited me. There is a feast ready, His presence close at hand, and He gathers me under His wing like a mother hen.