My paternal grandmother, whom we called Omi, once served my sister and I a simple lunch on china doll dishes, bathed in sunshine. I can still see the scene: the high window over the kitchen door, the plants behind the sink, and her gold fish gladly fluttering his fins in a spherical bowl. As a young bride, I selected “good dishes” that look much like those doll dishes, only grown-up size. From childhood, I learned the impact and value of offering warm hospitality to guests, even, or maybe especially, little ones.
Life was not easy for Omi. Born before 1900, Omi was raised by a single mom in Germany. Sadly her mom passed away when she was a teen, so she moved to The Netherlands to work as a nanny for a family living on Alexanderstraat in Den Haag. They introduced her to Jesus and later encouraged her to go to the United States. She met my grandfather there, in a church composed of German immigrants and their families. Always a stranger, Omi learned to connect with others by sharing delicious food: sautéed eggplant, homemade marzipan, coconut sprinkled cake baked in a lamb-shaped mold.
The Christian Bible often describes God as hospitable. King David wrote, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The prophet, Isaiah, predicted that one day, “The LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.” The book of Revelation foretells “the wedding supper of the Lamb!” Sometimes when I am preparing a meal for guests, I remind myself that God participates in and values the thoughtful work of creating delicious food and beautiful tables.
Application: Dear friend, if you practice hospitality towards others, keep it simple. Even a simple lunch served on tiny dishes can become a life-long memory. Weary friend, God invites you now, not to a life of religious duty, but to life nourished by relationship with him.
What has been your most memorable experience of giving or receiving hospitality?
Why Hospitality Beats Entertaining by Jen Wilkin