Well I have been home about 20 hours after coming back from a most wonderful two-week vacation. We saw the majestic mountains, rushing rivers and serene lakes in northern British Columbia, we saw rich farm land, lush mountains and freshly mowed hay in Abbotsford, and we saw powerful waves, obnoxious sea lions, and rolling sandy hills in California. And in all three places we saw beautiful, hospitable people. We stayed at a hotel for only two of the nights and the entire time we had to rely on the hospitality of others. This was not a vacation where you go to get away from people and lay on the beach. This vacation we visited probably 20 families (as well as doing a little sight-seeing).
A close friend of mine and I have had a few discussions about “accepting hand-outs” (whether it be food, money, services or time). Well, he calls it that and I call it “accepting the blessing God is providing you with.” This may seem off topic, but I think that perhaps our difference in views relates to our experiences and definition of hospitality. On this vacation we relied heavily on other people. We could have done it with out them but it would have been a totally different experience.
We stayed with a family who provided wonderful meals, beds to sleep in, lots of laughter and they even did our laundry! Yes, we were capable of buying our own food, finding lodging and entertainment and doing our own laundry. But they have the gift of hospitality and they were more than happy to do all that for us. Sometimes it can be hard to just accept hospitality without being able to give anything back. You want to be independent or look like you have it all together or not bother them. But once you realize that there are people who have the gift of hospitality and it truly gives them joy to give to you, it becomes a joy to receive. This does not mean that you immediately become ungrateful or stop noticing everything they do for you. But you simply thank them and the Lord and enjoy what He has provided.
So here I am, grateful for an amazing vacation and in awe of the hospitality of the people we visited. Everyone who we visited in Smithers [that could] invited us into their homes and fed us, my family in Abbotsford provided amazing food, transportation and a place to sleep, my family in Monetery, CA provided lodging, food, and money. They all genuinely loved. May I (and you) learn from them!
P.S. There is said to be a certain Southern hospitality. We have concluded (after living here four years) that it is not a hospitality, but a friendliness. Having said that, if you’re from Houston, TX please be encouraged to open your home to a friend or even a stranger. A little hospitality can go a long way.
And it’s addressed in the Bible. Here are just two of many verses:
The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. – Leviticus 19:34
Isaiah 58 (especially vs 7)