The Hospitable Heart

Several days ago, I was given the opportunity to set up a booth at a Minister’s Wives Retreat. When I arrived, I made my way to registration and was greeted with warm welcomes. There was laughter, a lot of chatter, and women embracing one another. A few had settled in by the fire, enjoying delightful conversations. I set up my booth, found my room, and then made my way to the dining hall.  What I experienced for the next 24 hours deeply touched my soul and has forever changed how I desire to BE in women’s ministry.

For me, there is nothing worse than walking into a room full of women that are there with one another and I do not know a soul.  As I made my way through the buffet line, I looked around and it suddenly felt like high school all over again.  You know the feeling… (well, maybe you do… if not just humor me)  I looked at each table and realized that everyone there already had a place and I felt like the misfit. So I prayed quietly as I prepared my salad asking the Lord to lead me to a table where I could sit and possibly make a few new friends. I made my way passed the first few tables and finally stopped and asked, “May I sit here?”  I was greeted with five spontaneous smiles and “Yes, please do”.  The introductions began and the lady next to me immediately began talking to me. Then a lady walked toward the table and all the ladies at the table asked her if she had eaten.  They quickly introduced me to her and I realized this was the lady who was overseeing the retreat and had been so gracious and open to my setting up my booth.  As we all talked, time passed and it was time to go into the first large group session. I was invited to sit with them and as we all interacted I realized that when the love of Christ is the bond there is no stranger.  However, there was more to it than just that one principle of the body of Christ. How do I know this?  I have had other experiences, where the particular ingredients of a similar experience were completely missing.

As I walked to my room at one o’clock in the morning after spending more time with this fabulous group of ladies huddled all together in one hotel room, I wondered what was so different. The next day did not disappoint! As I interacted with this particular group of women that all serve together at the same church, I watched them interact with many others.  They served one another with the same love and with such grace.  I drove home later that evening and knew that my soul had been touched and my heart had been challenged.  Over these past few days, I have pondered what I experienced.  I cannot say it better than Peter wrote it in I Peter 4:9-10.

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

These women were more than welcoming, they were hospitable. They were not just being nice to the new gal.  They wanted to know the new gal. They were not just being polite to the other women attending the retreat, they served the women.  I heard a quote years ago that the way to the top is through the towel. In other words, you want to influence others and affect people with the love of Jesus then you must serve them. This is what I saw and experienced with this group of women.

As I have reflected on my experience, I have found myself desiring to live out what the beautiful ladies of Georgia graciously displayed. What would our women’s ministries be if we each were hospitable to one another without grumbling?  How effective would we be if we ministered to one another as good stewards of grace?  Talk about amazing! If we think that hospitality is merely an act of being friendly then we water down the Gospel.  Hospitality is an overflow of the heart.  These women touched my heart and my soul has been refreshed.

Hospitality is connected to our attitude and the way we minister to one another can only be as deep as the grace we swim in. Hats off to the fabulous ladies of the GA Baptist Convention! A particular thank you to some of the most beautiful souls I have ever met, the minister wives of North Metro FBC in Atlanta, GA are one of a kind.  You have an attitude that reflects the heart of God and you swim deep in grace.

There will be a drawing for a beautiful print.  Here’s the catch! Please comment on the blog post and nominate a minister’s wife or a women’s ministry leader.  A name will be drawn on Sunday.  Please check back on Sunday to see if your nominee won and arrangements will be made to contact you.

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6 comments on “The Hospitable Heart

  1. Lori Watson says:

    Krista Miller of FBC Blairsville

  2. Lori Watson says:

    Leah Adams

  3. Lori Watson says:

    Jennifer McConnell of Sojourn WR

  4. I nominate Pat Kiger, my pastors wife

  5. Victoria says:

    I would like to nominate Taylor Mauldin. Last spring I started attending a new church. Like you, I felt out of place in my new surroundings. It had been a long time since I was the “new kid”. The sweetest young lady held the door and greeted us each Sunday. She helped me find my way around and connected me to a few other ladies. We got to know each other a little through these exchanges each week. I could count on her for a genuine welcome and smile. Many weeks passed before I realized that she is the pastor’s wife. I am blessed by their servant hearts, leadership proclaiming and living out the Gospel.

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