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The Guestroom

by SARAH DEAL HOSPITALITY Connecting with nationals Finding community
The Guestroom
“Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.”
Luke 9:10b-11

I was surprised a by a lot of things when I moved across the ocean to Indonesia. One in particular that surprised me was the presence of a guestroom in every home. Not the kind where you would invite a guest to sleep for the night, but a separate sitting room with the sole purpose of receiving guests. 

I soon found that the guestroom was essential to Indonesian culture. In nearly a decade of living in my Indonesian community, and visiting literally hundreds of homes, I came across exactly one without a guestroom. 

And if you were to rub shoulders for a day with my friends there, you’d quickly understand why having a guestroom was so important to them. They live to host, to serve. They welcome others into their homes and their lives constantly. It’s a part of who they are. Feeding. Helping. Listening. Informing. Loving. 

And what of me? Is there room in my busy schedule for such hospitality? Sure, I’ve sat in countless guestrooms, served my own meals, listened and offered my own perspective plenty of times. But I wonder, when it boils down, was my agenda to get things done? To squeeze in an extra hour of language study so I could nail down that grammar pattern? Or perhaps get some great pictures to add to my next prayer letter? Or maybe there were strings attached to my hospitality, as evidenced by the anger in my heart as I watched my son be bullied by the children of my guest? 

Ouch. Oh, how I need to learn true hospitality from my Lord. The One who gave Himself wholly to those right in front of Him. Who slowed down, took notice of the hurting, and made it His business to heal and to help. To get involved when He could have walked by. To invite strangers in when He could have turned away. To stop and sit and love without condition. 

My friends have the right idea with the guestroom. There’s something good about welcoming others in, and we have the best Something to offer them. 

Closing Prayer
Father, thank you for welcoming us into your presence through your son. Thank you for giving us so much, for meeting our needs through Christ, and for promising to never leave us or forsake us. Help us to share our earthly blessings with others around us, and to take time to share the hope that we have in you with them, too. When we are tempted to be in a hurry or prioritize our own agenda, help us to focus on the one person at a time that you have placed in front of us, being a channel of your love and your grace to them for your glory. Amen.
Song: Follow You by Leeland “Follow you into the homes of the broken, follow you into the world…” I absolutely love this song and its message of loving people through simple acts of stopping, taking time to just BE with them and share the love of Christ in tangible ways!!
Question for Reflection

What is one way you can practice hospitality today?

Sarah Deal
September 18, 2023

One of the most difficult aspects of hospitality for me is timing. Like in the key verse in Luke, I often find that God brings about opportunities for hospitality just as I’m about to dive into His word or spend time alone 😊. I tend to be selfish with my time, specifically with my kids. One way I can practice hospitality is to take time to sit with them and spend a few minutes in the Word with them, talking with them about their day and seeing how they are doing, rather than just shooing them away while I have time alone. Hospitality doesn’t just apply to strangers. 😊