How to live a life of hospitality our kids will model
By Rachel Schelb
This post was written by our friend Rachel. Rachel has the gift of hospitality and beautiful words so we are thrilled she is sharing with us today. We hope you enjoy her wisdom!
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If I’m being honest, when my children copy me, I’m not always flattered. Regardless, it is a poignant reminder that our children are watching all that we do and say. They see when we lose our temper and they notice when we ask for forgiveness. Our children notice how we treat our friends and will behave similarly. Those closest to us see our truest selves, which both terrifies and challenges me, especially since one of my deepest passions is hospitality.
Hospitality, as mentioned in Romans 12:13 and 1 Peter 4:9, is literally translated to mean “love for strangers.” This love for strangers is a biblical mandate, or command, found in these scriptures mentioned and modeled throughout all of scripture.
Never is it about the way the house looked, the food served, or the giftedness of the host or hostess.
Instead, biblical hospitality is a lifestyle that involves viewing others as more important than yourself.
Biblical hospitality is about loving well on purpose. How are you and I modeling biblical hospitality for our children? How do we equip our children to love well on purpose?
I have three tips to help us ensure that our lives are modeling positive examples of biblical hospitality for our children. None of it is difficult, but it does require effort and intentionality. Friends, it is worth it! As we model and equip this next generation of young men and women to love strangers well, we are developing an army of Jesus-followers who can love others as Christ loves us! So where do we begin?
We can’t expect our children to imitate something they don’t see. You and I have to be willing to live our lives with open hands. Our schedules, our homes, our cars, our energy all need to be available for God to use however he chooses. Hospitality will be uncomfortable at times. The Good Samaritan went out of his way to show hospitality to a stranger. It cost him time, money, and the risk of being robbed himself. However, his intense love for a stranger literally saved a man’s life! When we start looking for ways to love others well with intentionality and purpose, our children will automatically begin to imitate the behaviors as well!
Hospitality doesn’t require you to host elegant dinner parties or let homeless men and women stay in your spare room. Hospitality simply means having eyes to see those who need to experience the love of Jesus whether for just a moment or for a season. For instance:
When you see a mom struggling with her kiddos in the grocery store, encourage her or shoot her a “I see you mama; hang tough” look.
Invite that one fringe friend (like the lady you say hi to in church every week but never hang out with) over for a playdate or coffee.
Have your kids invite a friend over after school. Get your child to ask their friend ahead of time what their favorite snack is and have it ready when he or she arrives.
Encourage your children to open the door, greet guests and invite them in when you have people over.
This behavior helps them think beyond themselves and notice the people around them in new ways. Hospitality isn’t grandiose love; it’s intentional love.
Stay the course.
Schedules ebb and flow. Life gets busy. Family members get sick. There are times when you can open your home and lives to people far easier than in other seasons of life. Hospitality has no lofty expectations. The only requirement, according to God’s word, is that we do it, and do it without grumbling.
So in the hard seasons, maybe hospitality will be a thoughtful text or an encouraging comment on a friend’s Instagram post. In the chaos of school, sports, music lessons and church, hospitality may be grabbing a gift card for one or two teachers and sending them with your child to school or lessons. It’s a simple way to tell them “you’re seen and appreciated.”
Other times, when life is more consistent and in a groove, it may be throwing a back-to-school bash and letting your children create the guest-list or help with the food.
A text is no less important than a party, so do what you can in the season you are in.
Make it work for you.
There is no magic in these simple steps. It’s up to each of us to implement a life of hospitality. Your approach may be different than mine and that’s a great thing. Just remember, our children are watching. They will do what they see us model. Let’s model loving others well on purpose. Starting today, lets live a life of hospitality.
Rachel Schelb is passionate about hospitality, women, and cookies. She is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife and mom of two kids. Rachel desires to equip women to love Jesus and others more each day. You can read more from her by following her on Instagram (@rachelschelb) and subscribing to her blog (www.rachelschelb.com).