Guest post from: Mrs Debby Stitzinger
Who is welcome in your home?
Hebrews 13:1-2 says “Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (NASB) Also, in Matthew 25:35 Jesus said, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink. I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.”
Strangers don’t have to be random people off the street. They can be people from your church, your family, or your neighbors. Strangers can be visiting missionaries or special speakers at your church. Some of the best “strangers” that we invited into our home became godly heroes for our children as they were growing up!
To prepare your mind, you need to decide what is most important. Is it your things? Or is it other people and their feelings, and pleasing the Lord? Ask the Lord to give you the grace you need!
To prepare your family, start by talking to your husband. Make a plan that you can afford financially and time-wise. Decide together if your home can be adjusted for overnight guests or not. If you live in a tiny apartment, it may not be the right season in your life for overnight guests but you could invite guests for a meal or dessert.
Prepare your children for guests by helping them choose what toys or games to set out, and what needs to be put away. Talk to your children about sharing and making others happy (age-appropriately).
To prepare your home, make your home a welcoming place! It does not need to be fancy or ornate, just comfortable and cheerful; A place where guests can relax and not have to worry or be on their guard. If you happen to own a rare antique glass bowl, for example, put it in a display cabinet instead of on the coffee table!
Put something interesting on your coffee table or wherever you plan to spend the time. Open a photo album to an interesting photo, or set out some interesting small jig-saw puzzle or unique toy. I like to set out some antique wooden toys that I’ve collected and others find interesting!
Offer your guests a cold or hot drink, depending on the weather. Be sure that you set out cups or glasses ahead of time and have the beverages prepared so this can be cared for quickly. Remember to have coasters and napkins ready.
To make serving refreshments easier, you may want to collect plain white or clear glass plates and cups. You can find these items at thrift stores, dollar stores and garage sales. This collection would be a long term goal, and they don’t have to match!
To make overnight guests feel at home and comfortable, I will give you a list of things that I have learned to have available. Here is my list, but you may want to adjust this list for your own home and lifestyle:
-privacy for your guest
-WiFi code for your home
-travel size toothpaste & shampoo
-fresh bar of soap in the shower
-iron & ironing board
-humidifier in dry climates
-a pair of socks (from the dollar store)
-hangars for clothes
-pen & paper
-one soft & one firm pillow
-water bottles or paper cups
-a snack basket with packaged snacks, like granola bars
-a few books or magazines
-pasta and sauce
-a package of frozen hamburger
-meatballs or cooked chicken
Quick meals do not have to be fancy!When we had dinner guests, we did not dismiss our children from the dinner table to play. We included them and encouraged them to listen to the conversations. We held our babies or toddlers on our laps to keep them content. Our children may not have understood everything, but our guests often became wonderful Christian heroes for our family!
One rainy night, my husband and one of our sons witnessed a bad accident on the freeway and stopped to help. While the family members were being transported by ambulance to the hospital near our home, my husband and son gathered the family’s wet and bloody belongings, and brought them home so I could wash and care for their things. Along with their wet clothes, pillows and sleeping bags, were their soaking wet Bibles! This family had been visiting Bible colleges near us, several hours drive from their home. My husband and son waited with the family at the hospital, and as they were released, they brought them to our home for a meal, to use the phone and rest while they prepared to finish their long drive home. They were shocked and grateful to find all their belongings clean and dry! My other 3 children and I worked all night to care for their things! What a blessing it was to extend hospitality to this family of strangers that the Lord sent to us through such unusual circumstances!
Are you prepared to open your home when God calls you into His service? Don’t be afraid to do it! You and your family will be so blessed!