by Sarah Waldrop
I recently listened to a Podcast about a woman, Sarah Harmey, who made a goal to have 500 people gather in her home over the course of a year. It wasn’t about entertaining or testing out the latest recipes, but truly meeting new people and making them feel loved and included around an 18ft table in her backyard.
I’m not going to give away all the details, but she openly invites people she’s never met into her home, encourages them to bring a dish to dinner, serve each other, and help around the kitchen. Hospitality is something we do really well in the Delta (Hello, Hospitality State!) and especially at WPC. But let’s be honest, when we host other people we don’t want them to feel burdened or the need to help. Contrary to what we feel as a host, asking someone to help, or giving them the job of setting the table makes them feel included and that they have a purpose at the gathering. Including others breaks down the barrier of host vs. guest to simply people welcoming people.
There is no better way to mimic the Love of Jesus than making someone - an old friend or a new friend - feel needed and included. We have all been the outsider at some point in our life, so just go ahead and break down that barrier by including them. I don’t know about anyone else, but this quote always comes to mind when I’m interacting with new people: “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
We’ve all gone into a gathering feeling a little apprehensive about the other guests and how the conversations might go. But man! Does the Lord always show up and amaze us with the laughter and new friendships that come out of those unsuspected groups!
In Luke 14, Jesus discusses hospitality and dinner guests: “He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14)
If you have a chance, check out the podcast at the link below and I hope you are encouraged to love others and gather with them.