I used to think being a good host was making sure everyone had a full glass at all times, having a freshly baked dessert, and a freshly clean home when people come to visit. Let’s not forget also a nice clean life, on the outside, so no one would think there were any struggles… but is this really what it’s all about. As Christians we can be hospitable in opening our home, sharing a meal, making sure everyone has a cup of coffee or tea, all the while not really opening our lives to others. Often after we would have a big gathering I was left with a feeling of emptiness and loneliness. Everyone else was visiting with one another enjoying a time of fellowship and I was left running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to be the perfect host, but I was missing out on something. I poured myself out refilling the chip bowl and the tea pitcher, bringing out the food, putting it away, setting up the desserts, refilling the napkins, being sure everyone had what they needed, which isn’t a bad thing, but was it the best thing? I was reading the account in Luke 10:38-42 of Martha and Mary when Jesus was invited into Martha’s home. Martha was running around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to be sure the coffee never ran out and the dip was always full while Mary just wanted to sit with and hear the teachings of Jesus. Martha gets frustrated at Mary and that she is left struggling by herself trying to be the perfect host and she wants Jesus to step in and to tell Mary to help, and here Jesus admonishes Martha teaching a great lesson in that moment. What Martha was doing was a good thing… but Mary was interested in the BEST thing.
“I was left with a feeling of emptiness and loneliness……..I was missing out on something.”
Too often I get bogged down in the daily chores of life, homeschooling, laundry, keeping house, meal planning and preparing, and other good things. But what I have to remember is to not let time with God take second place, time spent in prayer and in His Word. Some days the business of life kicks in before my feet even hit the floor for the day and setting some time to spend with God gets pushed aside. I feel it in my soul those days…that need for more of Him. It’s easy for that one day to spill into the next and the next and before I know it I feel a distance between me and the Lord. It is not a welcome distance yet I have allowed it to happen as I have pushed aside my time with Him as secondary thing or squeezing in a quick read of a devotion that doesn’t even manage to stick with me to the end of that day ~can we say mom brain. Prioritizing time with God must be of first importance.
I see another lesson in this passage of Luke that also teaches how to be a good host. When you’re running around anxious about the ice needing refilled and missing out on fellowship with other believers you are sacrificing the best thing. I have had to learn these lessons the hard way and over time. Being okay with sitting down to join in a gospel conversation while one of the guests gladly roots through my kitchen drawers in search of a fork, or allowing a sister in Christ to come into my home even with the laundry on the bed needing folded and the rug needing vacuumed. Being able to open my home to a sister in Christ and have a time of fellowship that we both needed is of more importance than that pile of laundry, which we can fold together if it needs done that bad! What I’ve seen too many times and also have done myself years ago was to be unwilling to share our lives with other believers or to not prioritize that time of fellowship because of our chores that need done. The dishes and laundry and vacuum are all good things that, yes, do need to be done, but to prioritize that over sharing our lives and spending time in fellowship with other believers is to sacrifice the BEST thing for the good things. Others don’t remember the mess in your house when they leave; they remember the good conversation and time spent worshiping and glorifying God and how you made them feel comfortable in your home by also inviting them into your life even amidst your own struggles. However the other side of that is they will remember you not opening your home or life to them because your “house is a mess” or you have such and “such to get done” or even, “things in my life are so crazy right now”. This has proven to be true time and time again when I have had a sister in Christ in my home for a time of sweet fellowship or discipleship and instead of noticing the dishes or rug that picks up dog hair like nobody’s business we have enjoyed our time together and we both walk away encouraged and refreshed. In times where life is busy or messy and the laundry and dishes seems to be piling up, do not forgo prioritizing time with God and time spent sharing our lives with other believers.
Let us love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love others like Christ loved us!
What are you prioritizing in your life today? Is it good things or the BEST thing?