Much more than what is advertised in a recent commercial for an Italian restaurant, hospitality is the sharing of life with one another. Being hospitable people ourselves (at least we think we are!), my wife and I have known about hospitality, or so we thought. We had an opportunity to see just how far the hospitable rabbit hole goes in the past month.
Now all of us followers of Jesus long to have the life that Luke described about the early Church in Acts 2: “now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all as any of them had need” (v. 44-45). You know, mi casa es tu casa and the whole bit. But it’s definitely something to learn more about.
Months ago, an opportunity presented itself for us to go to a conference on my wife’s specialization of her field of study at school. In Boston no less, one of her favorite cities. Seeing a good thing when we saw one, we began to make plans to go. But at $250 a night for a hotel (that being the cheapest of hotel options), the trip began to look a bit too pricey for our budget. Thus began our search for finding someone to stay with while on our trip. As it turned out, a friend reminded me that another mutual friend lives in Boston, with whom we could stay or perhaps could connect us with someone in her network. The latter happened, and these someones actually needed housing while they were visiting LA last month. So, we had the opportunity to house them and then they got to reciprocate.
Just finishing our time with them, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that the spectrum of hospitality continues far off into the sunset—that is, there’s a lot to learn about opening your home up, helping one feel comfortable, while also learning that there’s a lot on my end in learning about how to not feel like a burden. While our time in Boston has finished with these new dear friends of ours, my journey on learning this continues, as I’m traveling the East Coast for the next couple of days, staying with other friends. I’m writing this having spent some time with a buddy in Jersey (which is much nicer than Hollywood would have you believe, as they don’t all say “badda-bing, badda-bang”).
When done right, the Church is an amazing community. And it’s been a real joy to live life with new friends this past week. It’s a bit of the picture I think Jesus had in mind when He called us to “love one another” (John 15). May each of us this week look for ways to practice hospitality this week, perhaps a phone call to one we’ve not talked with recently, a note of encouragement for an old friend, or an extended hand of generosity to a stranger.