Guilt Free Hospitality
In our summer sermon series, Gracious Hospitality, we are looking at the some of the meals that Jesus ate that are recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Paige Puckett, long-time member of Vintage21, wife, and mom of two young boys, reflects on the application of the series to the life of her family.
If you are a new parent with babies under eight months old in the house, go put a sign on your door that says, “Do not knock. Do not ring bell. Leave baked goods at the door.” Done? Go take a nap.
Now that we have that out of the way, I want share something I’ve been mulling over: what does it looks like for families to show gracious hospitality, to do social justice or to be on mission? Before this year, I cringed each time I heard a catchy slogan come from the pulpit about what I should be doing because Jesus loves me. And that’s what it was for me – nothing more than slogans that were associated with shame over not doing more. I was tired. I had a baby. I not only had a baby, I had a toddler, postpartum depression and insomnia. I couldn’t even begin to assess how I felt about Jesus or what I should be doing to advance the gospel.
Then at some point, I laid down the guilt, I started getting more rest and realized that these little ones in my house need Jesus too. They need my “enlightened hospitality,” not just my service. In other words, they needed me present, understanding and meeting their real needs, showing them grace and putting words to it. Suddenly, twangy country songs about lost love became teaching tools during car rides. Hosting community group became fertile ground for lessons on generosity and sharing. Brotherly slapping and hair pulling was a chance to turn the other cheek. My explosions of frustration over whining were opportunities to ask for forgiveness and to give it. We began to incorporate mission into the activities we were already involved with, such as donating garden veggies to the Food Shuttle or bringing extra toys and snacks to the playground to share. Our neighborhood and natural relationships with the people already in our lives gave us plenty of ways to practice hospitality within our current family schedule.
To minimize this season of life into something I have to endure before I can respond to God’s “true call” on my life is to fail to understand that the greatest thing in life is to know and be known by him. Until we believe that, until we know that because of Jesus’ blood we are absolutely accepted, we will pass on the burden of duty, busyness, and the pursuit of acceptance to our children. When we know we are loved, Jesus’ love, acceptance and rest runs over to our family, neighbors and city.
I do look forward to the next phase, when my kids are old enough that we can show generosity beyond our front door and neighborhood playground, and do volunteer activities as a family. I look forward to a time when our friends can linger on the deck after meals because all our kids are old enough to stay up past 7:30pm without leading to a disastrous tomorrow. But I’m not going to wish this time away. I am going to continue to live out Jesus’ gracious hospitality now, in my home, with my children and in the context of our family life.
Listen to The Good Portion, week seven of our summer teaching series Gracious Hospitality, to hear more about how you can be freed from the guilt that comes from trying to earn God’s favor and love, and live in the reality that you already have it through Jesus.
Joe and Paige Puckett are NCSU engineering grads (class of 2003) and met through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. They started attending Vintage21 in 2002 when it was launched, were married in 2004 and now have two boys, Daniel and Matthew.