This week the word welcome has really made me think.
This week was the first time we struggled to find places for people to sleep and had to say no to a sleepover for one of our kids because all our beds were full and we already had all the extra mattresses and two cots in use! That made me think.
This week we showed up at a friends house and they welcomed our large crew with open arms for a swim in their pool.
This week we read in a bulletin about needing a host family for some coaches and I remembered the many times we had done that in the past and considered offering again.
This week I talked to a friend who welcomed a niece back into their family who was placed for adoption over 30 years ago.
This week our newest foster daughter welcomed her friend to our home for a sleepover. That is a big deal when they start to feel like they have a home and feel comfortable welcoming others into it!
This week we have friends bring their trailer and go camping in our backyard. A first that will most definitely happen again as my husband has always offered that option to friends and family.
This week we made plans with two new families that we are just getting to know to join us for a Sunday lunch.
Today, during my devotions, I read about what Jesus had to say about being welcoming.
Matthew 10:40-42 NIV*
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Six times Jesus uses the word welcome in two verses! I’m pretty sure He was trying to make a point here. He talks about welcoming the greatest of people right down to the little children. Pretty much everyone.
Over the years we have welcomed hundreds of people into our nuthouse. Who ever thinks a house with 7-10 children at any given time is a calm, serene place to have a conversation is not thinking clearly. Good thing having a quiet, clean, perfect house isn’t mentioned in Jesus command at all! If we waited for that, we would never have anyone over! Welcoming family is one thing. Seems people do that easier. maybe they don’t care as much what family thinks. Friends yes, some people do have friends over but I know many friends who need a month to prepare for such an occurrence. Strangers, oh no. Who would ask a stranger into their home? How about someone who is famous in your world? Someone with a much bigger house? Someone with more money? Someone with more power? Someone with no power? Someone with no money? Someone with no house? Did you come up with an excuse for each of those?
We tend to rationalize our reasons for not inviting anyone in. Too busy, floors are a mess, no time, no great Pinterest crafts made recently, no extra beds, no cable TV. Insert your excuses here.
So by now, you’ve realized that all those things don’t matter. When you visit someone’s house do you worry about all that? I know we don’t. We usually have so much fun chatting with our hosts and laughing that we don’t even notice any of those things. We worry far more about our home’s appearance and our family’s appearance that others do. We fear being judged. I know I have had the same fears. “Oh, crap, I didn’t have time to clean my bathroom before they used it!”. Oh well, now the secret is out! I am not perfect. I have 10 kids. I don’t spend all of my days monitoring the state and cleanliness level of our bathrooms.
Put away all your fears and worries about not having a home that would fit in Architectural Digest magazine. I’m thankful my house doesn’t look like that because we don’t worry about kids running around and wrecking something. Our house is kid proof. If yours isn’t, then welcome us in the summer when we can stay outdoors! Or invite other adults or seniors over instead. If you don’t think our family will fit, then just invite us over for a game night after the kids are in bed! If you have a home that is completely not going to work to invite anyone over, invite people out to a restaurant or a beach picnic. There are always ways to get around your reasons for not inviting others into your world.
We are always blessed by welcoming others. I know people tell us all the time that they felt blessed by visiting. In a world that is so focused on connecting to others through social media, we feel it ever more important to maintain connections in real life. You can’t give a hug through social media. You can’t feed lunch through social media. You can’t hear the worry in a person’s sentence over text. We miss out on so much when we isolate ourselves and our little families into our boxes called home. If you really want to experience, love, friendship, and fun, open the door. Make plans to invite someone in this week. Start with someone you know and work your way up to inviting in someone you don’t. A person you’ve seen but never really had the chance to get to know.