Years ago a well known theologian came as a “theologian in residence” to our church. For the next couple of weeks my husband and I were his chauffeurs. He was also a welcomed guest in our home. One morning when I picked him up at his hotel he asked me if I had a washing machine. “Why yes!” I said. “Well would you do this load of wash for me?” was his reply.
When Martha invites Jesus over she probably didn’t have any specific expectations in mind. Like any considerate host she thought carefully about the meal she would serve, fully anticipating that after all the preparation she would enjoy an evening in the presence of Jesus. Instead she discovers that she is alone in the kitchen. It wasn’t at all what she had expected when she welcomed him into her house.
For many of us the idea of being hospitable is too fraught with unknowns, so we just don’t do it. We allow the uncertainty of conversation, the meal, the size of our home to become hurdles and instead of making a flying leap over them we simply refuse to run.
Washing the clothes of a respected theologian was not my idea of being a good host, but, my view on hospitality changed that day. I discovered that hospitality isn’t just opening up your home with the right food served on the perfect china. Hospitality also requires an opening of one’s life to the unexpected requests that God brings to your door.
Lord, help me to open my home and my heart
to the life changing, unexpected requests you bring to me.