Spontaneous Hospitality: Part II

For a long while I’ve hesitated to write about hospitality because there are others who do it so much more easily than I do. I love having people in our home, but I still find myself worrying too much about details – how does the house look, what will I cook? Over and over I have to remind myself that hospitality is about welcoming people into our home, and sharing our family and lives with them. Through the years though, having people over with some advance warning has become not difficult. It’s when it happens suddenly that I still sometime find myself taking a gulp. (I’m a woman who loves to plan ahead. I write lesson plans for the whole year during the summer, so I can tell you in August what we will be doing in April.) Yet often those spontaneous visits are the very occasions of greatest delight.

I’m often surprised at how things turn out on those days when people show up with little or no lead time. (It happened even while I was writing this post. A relative called in the morning and said she and some out-of-town distant family members were going to stop by after we finished school that afternoon. “Oh, no! Not today!” I grumbled. But you know what? We had the best visit we have ever had with those far away relatives, and I was so thankful for our time together.)

The Lord poured out an incredible blessing on our family one year as a result of some unexpected hospitality. One Sunday after church my husband was approached by a grad student we had not yet met. It seemed that our pastor had suggested that this young man should get to know our family, so he asked if he could come to dinner. “Sure,” Tim said.

After walking into our kitchen, just to make conversation I asked this young man what he was studying. “Math,” he replied.

“Really?” I returned. “Do you tutor???” Now, I love math, and came close to majoring in it, but that year I was spread pretty thin with teaching eight children, and I didn’t feel I was doing a satisfactory job teaching Andrew pre-calc. Since I knew he was heading into engineering, it was vital that he receive a strong math preparation. We’d planned for him to take a pre-calc class at IU, but we’d just learned the section he needed had been dropped.

Our new friend was slightly taken aback (he’d literally just walked in the door), and said he never had tutored, but he would consider it. We had a wonderful time getting to know Eric, who told us he was looking for a family to adopt. So before he left that day, Eric agreed to come once each week, enjoy dinner and fellowship with our family, then stay to tutor Andrew. It could not have worked better, at least from our perspective, (and hopefully his!) We all came to love Eric, he enjoyed being with us crazy people, and he taught Andrew in a very individualized program that helped Andrew be ready to take for the calculus courses at IU he needed to take the following year, his last in high school. I had been so stressed about what to do about Andrew’s math education. Seeing the Lord’s miraculous provision in this way was a HUGE encouragement that He was caring for even these details. And it would not have come about if our friend had not asked to come to dinner and Tim had not said yes.

Coming soon : Practical Ideas for Preparing for Unexpected Guests

Hebrews 13: 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.


terri Wegener said…
Dear Anne,

Just came across another blogger called the relunctant entertainers and I found some helpful articles on the subject. You might want to look her up. I found it off Kim Johnson's Monday Menus sight. I think we all are reluctant because of rejection issues and fear of that many times. Realizing that that is a common issue with everyone to different degrees helped me. Terri

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