Just hours before company was to arrive, I had said, “yes” to writing a blog about ‘Hosting’. The house was all clean, candles lit, fresh flowers in their vases, and muffins baked. All the usual details I enjoy doing for our guests were complete. I was anxiously awaiting their arrival. I was ready.
Just over two years ago, we moved to Texas from Minnesota. Prior to moving, hosting for me involved having close friends and family over for dinner, birthday parties for our girls, throwing a baby shower for a friend, and a monthly church life group in our home. I loved hosting! It came natural to me and I found such joy in it. Preparing the food and all the little details were so fun for me. When we moved to Texas, I quickly realized my idea of hosting looked very different. For a start, we had very few friends! No dinner parties were in our immediate future. We were lucky enough to have consistent visits from family and friends but now our guests didn’t just stay for a few hours they stayed for a few days. I learned early on that there were endless options of restaurants in Dallas so meal planning was no longer required. The most unexpected adjustment with every visit were the emotions that accompanied them. The emotions of missing “home” that immediately entered the door the moment our guests arrived. The constant reminder of what was, that now, is no longer.
On this specific weekend, we planned all the fun places to visit and restaurants to try. I thought that by now I had adjusted to this ‘newly updated’ version of hosting. Except this time, I found myself unprepared. Within just a few moments with our guests, I had allowed offenses to creep in. Minuscule moments can feel monumental if you allow them to. In II Timothy 2:24, Paul says, “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, NOT resentful.” This did not reflect my heart. I was kind and I did not quarrel, but I quietly allowed resentment to build. Everything I did was done out of my innate desire to serve, but not out of love or holiness.
The definition of the word host has multiple meanings. In its most common form it means, one who receives or entertains guests. This was something I was familiar with. But in biological terms, it means a living animal or plant in which a parasite lives. That parasite (organism) derives its nutrients at the host’s expense. I was the host, and sin the parasite. The trouble with sin is that it slowly creeps in. James 1:15 says, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires. Then when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown brings forth death.” The enemy came to use me as a host for his work to be done, all at my own expense.
The weekend concluded and our guests went on their way. I spent the morning embarrassed and ashamed of the current status of my heart. In His kindness, He gently revealed to me that the issue did not have to do with my ability to host but that I had forgotten to offer myself available to Him. I had made it a priority to prepare my home but I didn’t prepare my heart. I was operating in my own natural strength and not out of His love. I Peter 4:8-9 says, “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” Jesus, the ultimate example of a host, who took on all of our sin. For the undeserving, for you and me, all at His own expense. When we invite Jesus into our heart, we no longer live our life as our own. Our heart should be a host site for God’s work and will to be done. It should be a reflection of the love He has shown us. When we allow Him to be the host in our life, it shuts the door to sin and guards our heart amidst offenses so that we can operate in love despite our circumstances.
About Felicia Schmitz
Felicia is married to her childhood sweetheart Dave and together they have three daughters. She is a recent transplant to North Dallas from Minnesota and is adapting to her new role as a stay-at-home mom. A self-proclaimed “foodie”, lover of coffee and crisp morning runs, Felicia has a heart to serve and is digging her roots deep into where God is leading.