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.
What is one way you can practice hospitality today?