Growing in Hospitality

(Please welcome Jami’s first post here at Missionary Moms!)

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“Jesus, help me to be a hospitable person”. This was my prayer soon after getting married seven years ago.  I saw other people in my life that really excelled in gifts of hospitality and knew that it was an area I wanted to grow in.  Soon after praying this, our house was jokingly known as the “Gustafson hostel”, as we had overnight guests almost every weekend.  I had many opportunities to practice hospitality.

The opportunities continue now that we live in Siberia.  People often come over to our apartment to do their laundry, wash their clothes, or have a meal.  But here’s the thing.  Hospitality is still not a natural “gift” for me.  I’m an introverted person.  I love time alone.  I love time just as our little family.    I am also a messy person.   I have dreams of a perfect keeping a perfect house, but I would SO much rather play with my daughter or talk with my neighbor over coffee than clean the floors!!

But the more I pray about God bringing the ministry He has for us, the more it has revolved around people coming to us and serving them with a willing and happy heart.  Offer hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9) is a verse that continually comes into my mind.  Here are some things that I’ve noticed:

  • All I did was pray for God to bring His ministry to us.  And then people began coming.  I didn’t actively DO anything.
  • I used to stress out about fixing the perfect meal or wanting the apartment to look tidy but practice has helped me to be a lot more relaxed!   The way I treat the guest(s) is much more important than that other stuff.
  • As people come into our home, it’s a natural way for our daughter to interact with others and be a part of ministry… in a comfortable way.
  • Bringing people into our home shows an example of a Christian family (something most people here don’t have) and shines God’s light in ways we will probably never know.
  • In this culture, it’s important to plan in “flex time”…  time that’s unplanned so that we’re not too spent to minister to others when they call or want time with us.

In this season of life, I’m thankful for this gift of being able to minister in simple ways- without taking away from the most important ministries of being a wife and a mom!

~Jami

Is hospitality a natural gift that God has blessed you with? If not, how have you seen God grow you in this area? Do you have any ideas that have helped you to “offer hospitality without grumbling?” How have your ministry opportunities as a mother grown through showing hospitality?

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9 Responses to “Growing in Hospitality”


  1. 1 Ashley L September 28, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Thank you so much, Jami! The second point that you mentioned is something I have been trying to take to heart for a long time. I often have had this unrealistic expectation of myself that to be hospitable means to have the house perfectly in order (even with two wild toddlers), and have exactly the right things serve our guests. With those expectations I’ll never practice hospitality! I have to remind myself that I could care less if someone else has their home in perfect order when they have me over and that am just happy to be together. I’ve been trying to put loving and serving people ahead about my own silly pride and fears about my own image, but it is a challenge. How did you get over those desires to have everything just right? Was it just necessity in having lots of people over, or were there other things?

  2. 2 Shilo September 28, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Jami,
    Thanks for your honest and insightful post. I have always enjoyed the noise and bustle of having people over but in the beginning I was insecure about my cooking abilities. I guess practice and planning has pretty much resolved that issue.
    The other issue was the desire to be seen as perfect – beautiful home, beautiful life, beautiful marriage, beautiful self. I could always point out something to my guests that I had not done right (probably that they hadn’t noticed at all). The thing that caused me to change in this area was that I all of the sudden realized that by pointing out my imperfections to others, I was by extension communicating that I only accepted perfection from them! Yikes! That certainly wasn’t my heart, I wanted to communicate freedom and acceptance. So I needed to accept Christ’s grace to be human myself in order to be able to truthfully extend it to others. It was lifechanging for me and now I really see that an imperfect life is a beautiful life because it is a life that shows Christ’s power to work through my humanity for His good.
    I like you LOVE that hospitality allows me to minister to others all the while caring for my family! That is such a blessing.
    Have a great day! I look forward to reading the other comments!
    Shilo

  3. 3 Shilo September 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I had to laugh, about 1/2 hour after my comment, my neighbor showed up at my door! House a disaster, about to hop in the shower, etc! But stopped and enjoyed coffee with her! I was glad for this post to remind me to take a deep breath and just enjoy! 🙂 God is good!

  4. 4 Stonefox September 29, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Great post, Jamie! I’m an introvert too and have gone through similar struggles. And you know what? God DOES send people our way if I am open and waiting on Him. Also, doing hospitality as a family is awesome, like you pointed out. I’ve really seen how God uses my kids to open doors. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  5. 5 Stonefox September 29, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Sorry, Jami, misspelled your name above 😦

  6. 6 Addie September 29, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you Jami! This is something I have recently been convicted of, I feel comfortable showing hospitality to others in my church (which is really fellowship) but crossing the line to show Christ to others who may not know him is more difficult. I can make my house look pretty and have others over, but talking to them about Jesus and sin is something I am afraid of, which is the precise reason for inviting others over! Thank you for your thoughts on this, it’s very timely for me.

  7. 7 Nicole October 8, 2009 at 1:08 am

    How encouraging!! I love your transparency!! I must admit I too was very much an introvert in the beginning of our marriage. My husband is such the “social butterfly”. Even when he was in college his dorm room/apartment would be filled with guest, so I knew what I was getting myself into. I still struggle time to time wanting to keep my door locked and not have any of my neighbors over. We have a “open door” policy where we minister. Our neighborhood is filled kids…ALOT OF THEM!! WE are called to love on the FATHERLESS and show our neighbors the same hospitality that the LORD has shown us. Being hospitable for me has helped me show love, and mercy, and grace with my husband and child. I get convicted when I know I am not showing them just as much hospitality as I show my neighborhood. (plus my husband is great with reminding me of my priorities)..I will say I have learned to TRUST the LORD and have always learned that the things I have DONT BELONG TO ME.. I am so thankful for GODS GRACE! I am adding your blog to my blog roll! I cant wait to share it with friends! 🙂
    Thanks Jamie!

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