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Hospitality is from the Heart 6: Being a Grateful Guest

Day 6, Hospitality is from the Heart Series

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful (Colossians 3:15, ESV).

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:4-5, ESV).

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:11, ESV).

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35, ESV).”

We’ve all had a guest that left a bad impression on us by their ungrateful comments and attitude. Whether it’s a mother-in-law, a crazy cousin, an outspoken uncle, or a dad that drives you nuts—we can relate to the idea of a guest we enjoy much less than others. “Your turkey is much too dry, and these mashed potatoes are full of lumps.” Or, “looks like you’ve been too busy to cut your grass, lately!” These comments make the other guests cringe with discomfort, and usually make my blood pressure tick upward. A bad guest is not what we want to be, and as Christians, we want to be genuinely grateful and kind when we are invited into the homes of others.

I am sure there is a ‘Good Guesting 101” somewhere out there on a bookshelf of a bookstore. And I’m guessing that the people who need to read it the most, rarely do. But I think it’s valuable to look at Scripture for our general behavior, and this behavior should spill into all areas of our lives. When I follow biblical guidelines for living like Jesus, I will be a better wife, a better parent, a better friend, a better daughter—and even a better guest!

Many of us will find ourselves as guests during the Christmas season. It’s one of the busiest times of the year, and we will likely sit around the table of someone kind enough to invite us over. How we behave matters to our host and hostess—and our behavior also matters to God. I don’t think I’ve given that enough thought before, but it is a part of my testimony, and my behavior always either points to Christ, or exposes my lack of connection to His Word. 

So, what should our behavior look like as a good guest? Thankful. Kind. Respectful. Gracious. Helpful. Well-mannered. Friendly. Connected. All of these are great ways for us to be a good guest, but perhaps the best of all can be found in our scripture reference of John 13: love others in the same way that Jesus loved us. When we put this into practice, being rude, ungrateful, unkind or unhelpful, will not be possible. If we practice this type of love, our host will enjoy having us, and we won’t be marked as a bad guest.

Another great truth is found in the “golden rule”. Did you know that this rule is biblical in its foundation? In Matthew 7:12, we read, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them . . .” These words were spoken by Jesus, so we can really take this truth to heart, knowing it’s His way for us as believers. Looking at this then as a guest, how does this relate to me, personally? It reminds me that the way I act in the home of others, should align with the way I would wish for my own guests to act in my home. If I enjoy guests that are kind, complimentary, thankful and helpful, then I can assume that my host or hostess will appreciate the same from me.

As we move into this Christmas season, and even through life, may we embrace these truths and obediently and joyfully practice them when we are guests in the homes of others. Everything we do—whether for other Christians, or for those who are still lost in their sin, is observed. My behavior as a guest is all a part of my testimony, and my testimony is a direct reflection of the witness I am for Jesus. My behavior can lift up His name, or cause His name to be dishonored. Moving forward, I hope we can keep in our minds and our hearts the spirit of thankfulness and love to all we spend our time with. May we be people who are re-invited—not out of obligation, but out of the joy of spending time in our presence. And may we remember that wherever we go, and whatever we do, we carry His name with us.

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