Last week Tom and I held a fun Facebook live discussion on hospitality. It stirred a lot of interest and the sharing of wonderful stories about the ways that God blesses all of us through the sharing of hospitality. One such story was shared by my friend Anika Magwood-Van Branteghem. Anika is Flemish originally from Belgium, but I met her as a nurse on the Mercy Ship M/V Anastasis and have thoroughly enjoyed keeping in touch over the years. She loved the discussion on hospitality as a doorway to the kingdom and commented that generosity goes hand in hand with that. She then shared the following beautiful story.
Many decades ago I was starting dinner preps and with 5 children, I usually would bake 7 large potatoes and 7 pieces of fish or meat. I was a very busy mom with 5 children and involved in their schools and church often. Our finances were meager so food was often prayed-in, but generosity is something the Lord emphasized in me and He had me obey through hospitality often.
This one day as I prepared dinner, I kept adding food to my usual portions without thinking about it. Near dinner time my husband, John, returned from cutting wood in the forest with a young couple we did not know. He had found them alone sitting by their broken car on a rural road. This was before cellphones etc. He invited them to come to our house and have dinner while trying out to get help for the car.
So here we had unexpected company, but the Lord had guided my hands to prepare extra potatoes, meat and veggies….just enough for 2 more people. After dinner friends went and helped with the car and we never saw them again! We have often wondered if they were angels? But for sure we were able to share the love of Jesus with them. We always read scripture after dinner, so they heard the Word of God as well. If they were not angels, the Lord certainly sent them to our home as a door to the Kingdom.
Another reader, David del Valle, commented:
We were privileged to have grown up in a home where hospitality was a core value. We were poor, but there was also room at the table for friends and family. It was quite typical for Puerto Ricans of low means. Low on the economic scale but high in hospitality. Fond memories of those moments.
Both these stories highlight something I frequently observe. We don’t have to be rich to be hospitable. In fact it is often those who are low on the economic scale who are high in hospitality. I have been blessed with incredible hospitality in Haiti and Ghana and Mexico by people who were poor economically but rich in relationships. In fact studies show that as people move up the economic ladder they often give up relationships for productivity. For many of us, radical hospitality, as portrayed in the Bible, where we reach beyond our families and close community to entertain strangers, is hard. Busyness and prestige often make us feel there is no time to be hospitable or that our homes don’t look good enough to invite others into. Or we are afraid strangers will steal our possessions. Or we think we need to prepare special food or stretch our budget to create some exotic meal.
Radical hospitality is not like that. Radical hospitality is about sharing the little we have, humble as it may be, with whoever comes to our door and allowing God to both expand it and make it special. I am sure that the couple who shared potatoes and vegetables with Anika and her family, felt they had been blessed with a very special meal. They probably thought that Anika and John were angels too.
Hospitality is about sharing our lives not just our food, with others too. That’s part of the reason for the cookbook we are compiling as part of our emphasis on Embracing the Wild Hospitality of God. Please consider contributing recipes and stories of how God generously provided for you and for others through you.
Please take the time to watch the video on how hospitality has been a part of Tom and I’s lives and marriage. I hope it inspires you to reach out and embrace the God of radical hospitality and find a doorway into the kingdom as a result for you too.
Do you enjoy providing hospitality? Do you have a go-to recipe you turn to time and again? We would love to hear about it! We are collecting recipes across our Godspace community for our first-ever cookbook. Send your recipe written in your own words, where it came from, and why it’s special to you to firstname.lastname@example.org – if you send 3 or more recipes in, you will receive a FREE digital copy of the finished cookbook! For more information check out this post: https://tinyurl.com/GodspaceCommunityCookbook