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Traits Of Irresistible People (TIP) # 24: Be Hospitable

I used to think that hospitality was a gift that only certain people had. You know the type: the lady with ready snacks at her house, tea in the flask, cold water to serve and a well-organized house. I have been blessed by these types of people over and over again, and I am truly thankful for those who seemingly put little effort into welcoming others into their space. But for me, it’s hard not to fall into a panic when there’s an unannounced guest.
Hospitality means love to strangers, not just those you know well, and a stranger is probably not just someone you naturally want to show hospitality to. It can tend to be expensive, and it takes up our own resources that we intended to be used for our own family. It can be inconvenient, because it impacts our schedule to some extent.
Maybe your house isn’t the cleanest, or the largest, or maybe you’re not the wealthiest or the most organized, but maybe that means you won’t intimidate anyone. Maybe it’s good for someone to walk into your open home and get a sense of the life that happens there, even if it’s not Pinterest-worthy. People will be blessed by being in your modest home, or your tiny apartment, or in your house that has room to lodge ten more people. Let us love one another, and show hospitality without grumbling. 
Do consider giving your guest your attention.  That doesn’t mean your work has to necessarily stop, but it does mean leaving the phone to the answering machine and especially not checking your Facebook updates, tweets and emails!  If you must take a call that you’re expecting, be sure to let your caller know that you are currently with a guest and will call them back.  Give the person who is in front of your face priority.
Being “hospitable” does not mean you need to have an open door policy to anyone who wants to drop in at any time they want to or need to drop in.  That being said, being hospitable does mean being available for emergencies and having some flexibility.  Some people are just plain needy and will take up all of your time if you let them; others would never drop by unannounced unless it was urgent.  Use some wisdom to know when to bend, and when to stand firm and graciously say, “I’m sorry, I cannot give time to that today.”
 If they are sad, give them some understanding and some cheer.  If they are down, offer some encouragement.  If they are happy about something, try to join them in their joy.  You can pray with them, or at least for them, while they are there.  If there are children involved, try to never send them away hungry.  Think about how you would be blessed in their shoes, and do likewise.  Let them leave your presence refreshed and blessed!
Hospitality isn’t about having the perfectly set up home ahead of time.  Hospitality is about serving people with love, and being open (and home!) to welcome them in their needs.  May your guests be blessed by your hospitality, and may you have peace in receiving them. Certainly you can’t please everyone, but you can have quietness and satisfaction knowing you did the best in how you dealt with folks.

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