For as long as I can remember, I have been a lover of hospitality. When I was a single gal still living at home, however, I wrongly assumed that it would be impossible for me to practice hospitality until I one day had a home of my own. I was raised by two very introverted parents who were far more comfortable to be home alone than to have guests over, so I assumed my extending hospitality would just have to wait until I was in a different life season.
The problem was not that I didn’t yet have a home of my own. The problem was that I had a faulty view of what constituted as biblical hospitality. The command we are issued in the Word to extend hospitality to others is not a command given to only those in a specific situation, life circumstance, or season. Rather, it is a command we all can (and should!) live out. I hope the following ideas inspire you in this area, whether you are living at home with your parents or away on a college campus.
Practical Ideas for How You can be Hospitable While Still Living at Home
See if it can be a family affair.
When we think of hospitality, oftentimes our initial thought is one of having folks over for dinner. Are your parents already extending hospitality in that way? Join in! Has it been a long time since they have invited people over? Go to them and see if they would be interested in getting on board with your desire to have guests into your home.
Remember what hospitality is.
The literal definition of the Greek word translated “hospitality” is “lover of strangers”. It has nothing to do with homes, meals, or parties (though all of those things can certainly factor in!). Loving people you don’t even know makes you a person who is extending hospitality. This is why it is more than possible for you as a single to practice hospitality right here, right now. If you are willingly and intentionally loving on strangers, you are obeying the command to be hospitable.
Invite someone out to coffee.
What I didn’t grasp while still living at home was that it didn’t matter if my parents didn’t really want to have people over – I didn’t need the use of my parents’ home in order to spend time with others in an hospitable fashion! Take advantage of the coffee shops, cafes, or other restaurants in your area and practice hospitality by inviting someone to enjoy a meal or cup of coffee with you.
Practical Ideas for How You can be Hospitable While at College
Invite people to your dorm.
If you have roommates, be respectful and clear this with them first. But if all is a-go there, then invite fellow students and other folks you want to get to know better to enjoy a meal with you in your dorm. Break bread together and see what kind of friendship can be cultivated.
Be a person who welcomes and truly sees others.
Because the nature and goal of hospitality is to be a lover of strangers, be the one known on campus for always having a smile and “Hi!” to offer to everyone you meet. Be kind. Be considerate. Pick up someone’s books when they drop them. Save someone a seat at lunch. Invite someone to sit with you. Offer to help a fellow student study for the big exam coming up. Pay attention to the people around you, really see and notice them, have them know you care, and you will naturally be practicing hospitality every day of your life!
Hospitality is not something reserved for people over 30 with a big house, lots of money in the bank, and the most gourmet cooking skills ever. Hospitality was designed by God to be something we each would live out all the days of our lives so that we might spread the light of Jesus everywhere. Do you want to make a difference with your life? Extend hospitality everywhere you go and, in so doing, point people to the love and goodness of God. There is no end to what Kingdom-building change God can bring about through the everyday ministry of hospitality!