Elisabeth Elliot—one of my favorite authors and an incredibly inspiring Christian—speaks fondly of childhood memories of the company her parents entertained in her book The Shaping of a Christian Family. Visiting missionaries, church members, or friends were regularly welcomed in their home and at their table. Elliot goes on to write of the impression that left on her about being hospitable.
Romans 12 identifies the marks of a true Christian. Hospitality, that old-fashioned virtue, is inexcusably among them. Elliot’s childhood and what is commanded in Scripture formed her view of hospitality. She had an open home just as her parents did.
What is hospitality, though? Is it always having people over and feeding them?
Pinterest, HGTV, and lifestyle blogs all contribute fabulous ideas of how to reorganize or renovate your home (be it an apartment, dorm room, or house) into the space you dream of. Now I like Pinterest and a smattering of lifestyle blogs as much as the next person but—by golly—those ideas usually require a hefty investment of time or cash. So what do you do when your Pinterest boards are overflowing and you’re ready to freshen up and change your living space but your time and money are already budgeted? You start small.
Begin with what you have and take care of it. While you’re saving for that piece of furniture or waiting for weekends to work on your DIY projects, work with what you have and keep everything clean and tidy.
How does cleaning and tidying get you the house you dream of? Well, it doesn’t by itself. Cleaning is the stepping stone between what you have and what you want. When the desire to nest sets in, there is a pull to do things immediately, to get your dream space now. But when your schedule is full and you’re waiting for that sale, it’s easy to leave tasks and projects unfinished. Those unfinished household tasks clutter your home and make everything feel even more unfinished. So what? Who cares if your home is messy while you spruce things up?