Set a wide and generous table.
I’ve been thinking a lot about simple hospitality, the good things that happen around a table and making yourself more vulnerable to others.
I live in a modest log cabin in the woods by a pond. We live a beautifully simple life without a lot of bells and whistles. Our home is never going to be featured in Southern Living. But there are things that can make my home a wonderful space for people.
I think Jesus shared a meal around the table with all kinds of people and just made room for them without asking questions. I bet it was simple instead of fancy, but that the company is what mattered the most.
I recently felt prompted to make some space in my life. And then I quickly thought of people I could invite into that space. But would I do it?
Scary stuff to invite people in. To invite people that you hardly know. I mean, all the thoughts.
Will this conversation be awkward?
Will a “no” feel like rejection?
Will they think I’m desperate for friends?
The bottom line is that you have to decide that it doesn’t matter. Be okay with possibly looking like a crazy person. Certainly be okay with a no, because you’ll get a lot of those. Whatever happens will be okay and the risk of doing this thing will be worth it.
And so I said yes. For me, it meant hard work to clear out a space for those God wanted to bring. And yes, I mean like even physical hard work. Cleaning up my home beyond what is just normally needed to create space for people and an environment for a group. Getting out the extra chairs. Putting away the cluttery art projects.
It meant cleaning off and cleaning up my back yard. It’s paying attention to small details that create spaces for conversation and connection. Making it look like you are expecting people to sit and linger in a conversation.
And as I spent the time on these tasks, I found that they are physical representations of what was mostly happening in my heart.
That’s the hardest work of all. I’m cleaning up in there. Like my back yard, junk just seems to show up there that I don’t want. I’ve got to get rid of some junk to make space for people. To make space to love people.
And how cool is it to have friends who jumped in it with me? They did the physical hard work with me of clean up. They helped me sort through and process my emotional junk too. And then our tribe showed up to welcome new people with us to the point that my load in the end was very little.
So here’s what I’m going to do. Keep making room for people. Keep having open seats at the table. Try to keep things more cleaned up and welcoming on the outside, but also on the inside of me. Sometimes it won’t be the easiest way or the most comfortable way. But there’s something rich that happens if you’re willing.