I have a friend who has spent much time in our home. We would invite him over quite often before he was married. He always complimented us on the meal and the company. One day he said to us that he wanted to be invited over sometime for leftovers and without the house being cleaned. He loves us, and we love him, but he knew the difference between our real life and our acts of planned hospitality.
It was his desire to be “just part of the family”, and that meant the family with all of its messes and “refrigerator leftover buffet”.
It has been hard for Joanne and I to invite people into our home unless we have had the opportunity to make everything ship-shape. Over the years we have loosened a bit on this, but we struggle with this still.
I recently had someone send my a blog post by Jack King an Anglican Priest from Knoxville, Tennessee. In this post King quotes one of his earlier sermons on the topic of “Scruffy Hospitality”. In this message he says:
“Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together.
Don’t allow a to-do list disqualify you from an evening with people you’re called to love in friendship. Scheduling is hard enough in our world. If it’s eating with kind, welcoming people in a less than perfect house versus eating alone, what do you think someone would choose? We tell our guests ‘come as you are,’ perhaps we should tell ourselves ‘host as you are.” Jack King-http://www.knoxpriest.com
In the blog post, King goes on to unpack “Scruffy Hospitality” in a more in-depth manner. I encourage you to click here to go and read his post on the topic. It is well worth the read.