Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality (Romans 12:3)
Ken was shaking hands with the congregation as they left church that Sunday morning when two kids approached him – a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old.
“We would like to take you and Mrs. Weddle out to dinner,” the 12-year-old said.
“But you’ll have to drive,” the 10-year-old added, “because we aren’t old enough.”
“We got it planned,” the older one continued, “We’ll go to the buffet on Lincoln Street.”
Ken saw their mom standing some distance away, nodding her head that they meant what they were saying. So a week or so later, we picked up the kids (and their two younger siblings) and were treated to a nice dinner.
The mom later explained to us that the kids put aside a certain amount of their allowance each week,until they had enough to treat an adult mentor to dinner. She told us a few of the people that they had already honored. The mom wanted the kids to learn how to be gracious hosts. So she was teaching them how to invite someone out, how to hold a conversation, and how to be polite through it all. The kids were kids, and there were some “moments,” but overall they did a great job.
The Bible has several verses about hospitality … like the one above. We are to seek to show hospitality. The Greek meaning of hospitality is exactly what you’d think it would be: friendship, graciousness, inviting someone to your home, kindness toward strangers, etc.
We teach kids how to catch a ball, how to do math, and how to ride a bike, but how often do we intentionally teach hospitality?
Here are some thoughts …
1.When their friends come over to play, encourage them to share and to let their friend have opportunity to choose some of the activities.
2. When their friends are over, explain how they can offer their friends some juice and cookies, (For older kids, you might want to tell them what they can offer their friends and what food is off limits.)
3. When adults are visiting, assign your children a simple task (depending on their age). Can they greet the guests and take their coats? Can they help you and your spouse bring in appetizers? Can they help clear the table? When our kids were teens, we often had large groups of people to our house and the kids would clean the kitchen after we were done eating. This helped because any dishes the guests had used to bring food would be ready to take home. (To be completely honest — even though the guests were impressed, we paid our kids well for doing the clean-up, but it was well worth it.)
4. When adults are visiting, have your kids make an appearance, but don’t make them sit through hours of adult conversation (unless they want to or the conversation is especially meaningful. For instance, if a missionary is relating his adventures serving internationally.) Allow children to take part in the conversation if they’d like, but don’t allow them to monopolize the discussion … or to be the center of attention by bringing out all their noise-making toys. Learning to be polite is part of the training.
5. When adults with little, somewhat out-of-control kids are visiting, allow your kids to put their favored possessions somewhere out of sight and safe. Some people might disagree with this, but we wanted our kids to enjoy guests, not dread them coming.
Teaching kids hospitality is an important goal. Here is how another family teaches their kids.
When their children reach a certain age (I think around 13), they are given a specific sum of money to have a party. They choose whom to invite, send the invitations, purchase the food, plan the activities, etc. In other words, everything (of course, with a parent overseeing what’s happening). The goal is to raise kids who know how to be hospitable.
Seek to be hospitable. Paul wrote that a long time ago, but it’s just as relevant today.