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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Is Your Home A "Hospital?"

As a young adult living with my parents, I enjoyed helping to host gatherings and events at our home. Of course, at the time for me that meant entertaining and chatting with everyone, LOL! It wasn't until after I got married and ran my own home that it took on a whole new meaning. I was now responsible for making sure others felt welcome in our home. This is a walk in the park when your guests are tidy, polite, and come at a totally convenient and pre-planned time. But what about the unexpected, messy, needy guest that comes with baggage? If you are like me (an almost OCD, clean-freak, schedule-loving introvert), then the latter guest may shake you up a bit.
Recently in my devotions, I came across Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were called into Macedonia. While there, they shared the message of Jesus with a group of women, one of which was named Lydia. Lydia was a seller of purple cloth (a very expensive fabric at the time). She was a busy business woman who was also responsible for her own household. When she converted, without hesitation she begged them to stay in her home. "And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.' So she persuaded us." -Acts 16:15.
The word "hospitality" is derived from the word "hospital." While staying in a hospital, it is the staff's duty to make you comfortable, help you heal, and make sure you are well taken care of so that when you leave that hospital you are healthier and feeling better than when you came. When a guest needs a place to stay, do you put out the welcome mat and go out of your way to make them feel at home? Do we adjust ourselves and our schedules to accommodate their needs? I'm sure this is how many, if not, all of us expect to be treated ourselves in hospitals or hotels or any place we are a guest at. We need to be like Lydia, opening our home to our guests even if at a moment's notice. We should make sure their needs are met to the best of our abilities. They may come in needing emotional or spiritual healing. When they leave, are they healthier and feeling better than when they came? More importantly, would YOU want to be a returning guest in your home if you were in their shoes? We need to remember to treat others as we wish to be treated, not expect. I would encourage you all to really stretch yourselves in this area and be a "hospital" that you yourself would want to come back to.