Makshift Hospitality: On Offering What You Have, Even When You Don’t Have Much

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True, godly hospitality is not a matter of sharing what we have for our own sake, to impress others or feel important

No, true hospitality is sharing what we have for the sake of the other.

That means God might call us to open our homes even if they’re not fancy or impressive or perfectly furnished or perfectly clean.

It means He might call us to share a meal even when our grocery budget is meager, the menu is simple and our dishes are chipped.

It means God is not necessarily concerned with what we have, but rather, with what we do with it and why.

How do I know? Well, besides what the Bible has to say (scriptures to follow), God has given me a lot of time to process this in recent months as He’s called me to practice everything I know to be true about godly hospitality.

Here’s what happened:

A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (not making that up) was moving to our city and needed a place to stay for two months. Her name was Bailey, and she had less than 2 weeks to find something or she would miss out on her dream job opportunity.

She was a fellow Chris-follower, young, never-before-out-of-her-parents-home, and in need of someone safe to scoop her up and take her in.

So, after praying about it and making phone calls to more thoroughly understand the situation, we extended an invitation to a total stranger to come live with us.

photo (7)

We met her, along with her parents, on the day they arrived to move her in. We talked with them for an hour or so, handed over a house key, and left for an out-of-town wedding.

Does that sound crazy to you?

Maybe. But at the same time, that’s how the Body of Christ in action looks.

1 Peter 4:8-9 “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.”

Here’s the “makeshift” part…

We didn’t especially have a place to put her. So what did we do?

Well, in fact… we stapled up sheets in our unfinished basement to form walls, laid down tarps and scraps of carpet for the floor and assembled all spare furniture, complete with two bag chairs and a scrap plywood headboard. We ran extension cords into the room for lamps and phone chargers. We even set her up with our mini-fridge.

basement room collage

We gave what we had instead of excusing ourselves for what we didn’t have. And believe me, it wasn’t impressive.

The room was pieced together unlike anything I’d ever seen. While we didn’t have money to spend on a new room or new furniture, we offered what we had without spending money.

And you know what? She was extremely grateful.

We weren’t impressive, but we were open-handed. We shared what we had. God didn’t give us a mansion, but He did give us this home.

It felt good. It felt right.

 1 Timothy 6:18-19 “…They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them.”

And you know what else? God formed a special friendship between Bailey and me. It was an impactful two months for both of us.

She told us on several occasions that she had never before experienced healthy Christian community or been loved by the Church for the sake of love. She was blown away.

We got to be a part of how God was at work in her life, and it was and is exciting and fun.

With all that being said, I want to add a few disclaimers…

What I’m not saying:

  • You’re not obligated to take in anyone and everyone who has a need. We are to be as shrewd as snakes and as gentle as lambs. Pray and use wisdom.
  • It may not be as easy as you want it to be. It’s a fun and glorious thing to open ones home to someone with a need, but it may also bring not-glorious realities at times. Be prepared for God to stretch you!

So let me challenge you to set aside your pride and allow God to use you and your home just as it is, to practice makeshift hospitality and see if you don’t receive a blessing in return.

How is God calling you to offer an imperfect home to meet the needs of others this week?


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  1. Liz Lynch says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. I’ve struggled with this same issue in the past but pushed my self thru it by letting go of pride and putting my guests first. I’ve enjoyed your posts for sometime now. Thank you for your insight. I recognize the location of the picture as I attend there as well. I hope to meet you someday 🙂

  2. Eliza says:

    Just found this old post in my pinterest feed, and it came at just the right time! I have a friend coming to stay for the weekend, and while I am excited to see her and enjoy her company, I have also been feeling nervous! I don’t get to practice hospitality much, and my house is so far from pinterest perfect that it’s not funny! Your blog post certainly has helped calm some of my nerves, and get my perspective straight!

  3. Ai says:

    Great testimony, Katie! How kind is our God that He would give you an opportunity both to give and receive blessings through this!

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