By: Angela Johnson
The first thing my new friend said to me was, “Come on over, we will be down in the basement because my husband and boys will be upstairs and I didn’t want to kick them out.” When I arrived, my friend’s husband escorted me to the basement and I was met with a room full of laughing women. A simple table was set with beverages and snacks. There was one couch and all nine of the women were huddled together on it. So, I squeezed on in and joined the fun.
To share a little bit about myself, my husband, Derrick, lovingly calls me “Marsha Stewart” — because I’m not quite “Martha,” but more like her slightly odd sister (this is when I insert my eye roll). But that night, on an old, plaid, wraparound couch in an unfinished basement, I learned a valuable lesson in what hospitality looks like. It was a cozy room and simple food. Nothing fancy. But when someone else provides it, it is…Divine.
This is the magic of hospitality. Hosting friends does not require a gourmet spread. The only requirement is a caring and attentive heart, and that will transfer to the food, to the friends, and to the conversation.
Most of us can always find a reason why we can’t host friends or a play date, and it usually involves the word…”Enough”. We don’t have enough time, enough food, enough seats, the house isn’t clean enough, and our kids may not behave well enough. However, every time we open our hearts, that is enough. When our main concern is connectedness, the presentation of our home and food can take a back seat — and people will remember how you made them feel rather than the fact that your kitchen counter had dried PB&J on it, or that your bathroom wasn’t spotless with the perfect Bath & Body scented wallflower plugged in.
Please don’t get me wrong — those things are awesome — but they should never be the prerequisite for hospitality. Because it is nearly springtime, we can easily find ourselves getting caught up in preparation for the changing season; we can almost feel ourselves becoming overwhelmed and overburdened. I once read the definition of gratitude as: “turning what we have into simply enough.” I pray that we are able to carry that mindset with us always.
In Mark 6:30, we read that after a long ministry tour, Jesus has just learned the devastating news that His cousin, John the Baptist, had been killed. So naturally, He wanted to take some time alone…but the crowds saw Him and followed Him. Even in His grief-stricken state, He had compassion on the people (vs.34) and preached to them and healed their sick. When it began to get late, His disciples encouraged Jesus to send the throngs of people away to find their own food. But, Jesus tells the disciples in verse 37, “You feed them.” The disciples’ response amuses me, because I can just imagine that conversation. The disciples replied, “With what? It would take a small fortune to buy food for all this crowd!” (NLT) Then in verse 38, Jesus says, “How much food do you have?” You see…it doesn’t take much. Jesus used five loaves of bread and two fish, and fed over 5,000 people. Talk about not feeling like enough! But, Jesus was never worried that it wouldn’t be enough. He always uses what we already have to make miraculous things happen.
In the end, ALL of the people ate and were satisfied, and then the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over (vs. 43).
Maybe your food won’t multiply, but your hospitality will be enough — and it will…satisfy. The simplest meal — coupled with a warm, open heart — is a feast for those needing a place to be themselves, a place to belong and be connected.
Please don’t let the lie of “not enough” keep you from inviting others into your home. We miss out on so much when we choose to let that lie discourage our invitations of hospitality. Ask yourself, “What is my “not enough” fear?” Is it your house, the food, the kids, your level of cleanliness and organization? Name your fear and then call it…Enough. Every day, find ways to remind yourself that…YOU are Enough.