Our theme for November is Blessing Others, which is a fun fit for a month that includes Giving Tuesday and Thanksgiving. November can brings reminders to take our eyes off of ourselves and look for ways to love, encourage, bless, and show gratitude. The amazing thing is that, so often, the more outward focused our hearts are the more joy and purpose we feel. The more we give, the more we receive.
I like this Bible verse:
1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”
Ultimately God’s love propels us to love others. When we are content in being loved by God, I believe this leads us to serve and love others.
So what does it mean to “bless others”? What if you don’t know where to begin? What if you are feeling depleted yourself and not sure you have anything to give? Well…one of the best and easiest ways to bless others can be summed up in one word…hospitality.
- 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.
Let’s talk about 3 fun and easy ways to bless others through the gift of hospitality…
First, there is the traditional version that probably comes to mind right away when you hear the word hospitality. This is the more formal type of hospitality, the kind involving a clean house, the offering of food and drink, maybe candles and music, definitely a bit of work. This form of hospitality makes the guest feel special, cared for and welcome. “Guest of honor” hospitality shows people they are significant, and their visit is important.
Another type of hospitality we don’t think of as much is the more casual version of having people over to our spaces. “Guest of honor” hospitality takes effort, but we can bless others just as much when we offer “real deal” hospitality and have them enter our messy homes, and lives. There is a special intimacy that comes with not cleaning up for a friend and letting them into the beautiful mess of our real life…you know, the kind piled high with dishes, papers, and laundry. This kind of hospitality takes vulnerability and it also says, “You can be real here, and you don’t have to have it all together with me.” What a gift!
Finally, there is “gift of presence” hospitality. Hospitality is not limited to our homes. Though Adam and I often love to open up our home to our family and friends to share a meal! But even if you don’t have a special space it can be the space we create and offer by being fully present with others. We can give others the gift of hospitality with our concern for what is going on in their lives, with our attentive and listening ear, with the simple act of eye contact. “Gift of presence” hospitality lets people know they are seen and heard, it communicates that they matter.
Honestly, I don’t feel the typical gift of hospitality is my strength, but I do like encouraging others to overcome and face their fears; so there are many ways you can bless others and hospitality is one. We can always work on our areas with room to grow!
I’m a busy mom of 3 and I often feel like I don’t have much left over to give the world outside of my family… But there are times when hospitality, in any of these forms, is a gift we all can give!