We as Christians have been well taught through the years to obey the scriptures that exhort us not only to be hospitable, but to love doing so (Tit 1:8) “…a lover of hospitality”. We are told to cheerfully share our home with one another (1Pe 4:9) “Use hospitality one to another without grudging,” to distribute to the needs of one another in addition to temporary lodging and meals (Ro 12:13) “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality,” and in general to extend the Christian hand of help and fellowship to each other and also to strangers. This is all good and Biblical. When you are a Good Host, you give of your time, resources, labors, and love. The burden on Good Host is to have an open heart to the brethren and non-brethren alike, to do a labor of love for another, and in so doing to glorify the Lord. This has been long taught as befitting a Christian.Let’s assume that the Good Host side is mastered and implemented. Now we can focus on, and perhaps bring some balance to, the opposite side of hospitality – the side of Good Guest.
Let’s examine our lives in the role of Mr. & Mrs. Good Guest.
Let’s assume this scenario: Mr. & Mrs. Good Host have invited you, your spouse, and your six children to spend the day with them. Good Host has now taken on the burden to minister to all eight of you by opening their home and giving themselves to you for the day.
How are you as Good Guests going to respond?
- “Thanks for inviting us,” you say, “I’ll get back to you when I check with the rest of the family” – is this a lengthy wait or do you respond in a timely fashion not letting too many days go by before giving Good Host your answer?
- Do you arrive on time or are you extremely early or late?
- Do you come with the idea that you are doing Good Host a favor?
- When Good Host has an activity planned for the children, do your children participate or are they all going 6 different ways? Are you courteous to the day’s planned activities?
- Are you flexible as to what Good Host has on the menu or do you make excuses saying that you can’t eat this or that, or the children don’t like those green and orange vegetables you’re serving? If you have a special diet, do you gracefully bring your own food?
- Are you thankful and compliment the cook, or do you gobble and grunt, or pick and phew?
- Do you think to ask if you can help – or would you rather, “Talk Bible” while your children are going through every room of the house.
- Do you ask if you can bring part of the meal? Even if the answer is no, never go empty handed. Christians always brought gifts to one another, especially in the Old Testament. The gift can be simply something you made or bought, or something from the children. It’s really an outward token to show your appreciation for the invitation.
- Do you overstay or eat and run? Are you sensitive to Good Host’s time schedule – do you brag that you don’t have anything pressing to do, so you can stay late? Or complain you have so much to do that you have to run?
How about this scenario: You are planning what I’ll term a non-essential trip; a vacation or a pleasure trip. You want to see that part of the country where Good Host lives so you call and ask if you can stay with them for a few days while you sightsee in wonderful Wildwood City.
Certainly, all of the above should apply to a Good Guest, but now even more sensitivity should be implemented on Good Guest’s part since the stay is extended.
- Does Good Host know exactly how many days you are planning on visiting? Does he know how many and what time you will be arriving? Do you plan to bring Spot and Fluffy? Do you expect Good Host to take days off from work to show you around or are you self-sufficient and have plans, which will not upset his work schedule?
- Are you flexible as to where you will all sleep? Do you have some type of air mattresses or cots if you are a bunch? Did you bring you own special pillow(s), bedding, etc.?
- Do you take your lead from Good Host’s timetable for meals and bedtime – or do your children eat and go to bed whenever the Lord leads. “They can stay up all night if need be” you proudly boast, but then do they sleep all morning?
- Do you plan to help with the food, picking up after yourselves, and practice general thoughtfulness to the maintaining of a peaceful and happy day?
- Do you all take marathon showers in the morning and/or evening, do your laundry and maybe even iron a few things?
- Are you responsible and pay your own expenses? Do you think about blessing Good Host financially?
- Do you remember the ‘Thank You Card’? Christians should be the most thankful people in the world. Saying thank you is a good start but writing a thank you card shows a special thoughtfulness. We should train ourselves and our children to send thank you cards for all kindnesses received.
These thought provoking hints are not all inclusive and not meant to be iron clad; however, if some apply, with the grace of God, changes can be made.
We are to be a blessing to this world, whether we are the guest or the host – the world will know us by our love, one for another. (Joh 13:35) “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
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