Go Ahead … Invite Yourself Over

I like to think that I am quite the domestic woman, but I really struggled to find my creativity when I moved to SE Asia. I blocked myself from getting on Pinterest because I felt sad that Hobby Lobby was so far away and that the ingredients I was so used to using in comfort foods were not readily available.

I longed for a beautiful home that welcomed people in and made them feel comfortable. And when I did offer up whatever gift of hospitality I could scrounge up, the gift didn’t exactly translate to my friends from Asia, Europe, or Australia.

I’m a Tennessee gal, you see. And a big pot of macaroni and cheese doesn’t exactly scream “I LOVE YOU!” to all cultures as much as I’d appreciate.

As I’ve been redefining domestication and hospitality in my homemaking, the Father has been redefining domestication and hospitality in my concept of ministry.

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I’ve really been camped out on the story of Zacchaeus for a while now, thinking about how Jesus made such an impact on this man’s life.

What strikes me about Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus (who was perched up in a tree trying to get a good look at the Christ) is how He openly invited Himself into Zacchaeus’ house.

Jesus didn’t say, Zacchaeus, you are clearly seeking me. I’d like to invite you to synagogue with me today. 

Or, Zacchaeus, I’d love to invite you over to my house for dinner. I can show you what being a follower of mine is all about. 

Jesus entered Zacchaeus’ world. He went into HIS home, with HIS stuff, where HE was comfortable. And the thought of this has revolutionized my understanding of incarnational ministry.

So often, we invite people to our fellowships with our people and our customs and our comforts. And we work hard to make that experience positive for them. We slave away tirelessly to try and make what makes sense to us understandable to others.

And there’s so much noise. Especially when doing cross-cultural ministry.

Newcomers to the Christ must weed through our traditions, our customs, our fashion, our worship…to try and find the Man who has such a simple message of Salvation.

I believe we can take a lesson from Jesus’ ministry to see the power of entering other people’s spaces well instead of always inviting them into ours. 

There is truly a gift to hospitality. Inviting people into our homes and into our faith assemblies with warmth and love is no small thing.

But I’ll admit here first: Sometimes I enjoy having people in my house because I like my house the best. I like my stuff. I like my food. I like being where I can control the temperature and the conversation.

And I wonder if sometimes I’ve worked too hard to make my home a place of ministry instead of going into the homes of others – where they are already comfortable – and bring my ministry with me into THEIR space.

We can reduce the noise. We can limit the baggage that surrounds our faith and bring a very simple message that is about a Man that wants to do incredible things in the lives of those we are hoping to reach, making it relevant in whatever home or whatever worship setting wearing whatever clothes.

Incarnation. Domestication. Christ with us, anywhere we go…not wherever we invite people to join with us.

Sisters, I believe there are a lot of people hungry for a Good Word. And whether we’re in a village in Guatemala or a gentrified neighborhood of Miami, we can make our message much clearer by being hospitable enough to be with others where they are most comfortable.

In their spaces. In their worlds. In the same way Christ entered our world long ago to share His message with us.

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In what ways have you noticed the benefits of ministering to others in “their space”? 

How have you modified your entertaining habits to accommodate others?

8 Comments

  1. Grace L November 15, 2016

    Lauren, your words ring so true. We love to host people in our home because we can control the food and the environs. It is more challenging to go into their space. We live in China and often visit homes of our friends at Chinese New Year. They love it when we visit them and feel so honored that we are in their space. Your post today challenges me to visit other’s homes more often.

    As for entertaining in our home, we splurge and buy chicken legs and bake them in our oven. They love this treat because it is more expensive than they would afford, plus the locals do not have ovens. We enjoy the meal and at the same time, we feel we are honoring our guests.

    1. Lauren Pinkston November 16, 2016

      Grace, it definitely goes both ways! It feels like a gift to open our home to others, too…as well as a gift to be invited into our friends’ homes. Sounds like I need to run up to China and try these chicken legs you speak of!

      1. Grace L November 17, 2016

        Sure, come on up. We even have really nice high speed trains that come within an hour of our house. Would love to host you in our home.

    2. Julie November 16, 2016

      Grace, can you share your chicken leg recipe? I need more recipes that Chinese people enjoy.

      1. Grace L November 17, 2016

        Hi Julie. The key to this recipe is McCormick’s Lemon Pepper seasoning which we usually bring in from either the US or HK. We use either chicken leg quarters or drumsticks and coat them generously with the lemon pepper seasoning and salt. We add some hot water to the bottom of the pan and bake them at 350 F (or whatever our little oven will get to) for about an hour. We baste them a couple of times as they are starting to brown. They are so easy to make and everyone loves them, including us. Enjoy.

  2. Ellie November 20, 2016

    Wow, Lauren, this is such a powerful thought! Thank you.

  3. Brittaney Chellsen November 20, 2016

    Lauren,
    Thank you for sharing!
    This blog post affirms me and challenges me.
    I am serving in the South East of Brazil in a small town. It’s here I make “home visits” and do exactly what you might suspect- visit people in their home. The last few days I have been thinking of the Advent season coming up and I want to do something specific with this- the 4 themed weeks leading up to Christmas. I am now thinking of rather (or perhaps in addition to) inviting people to “my space” (the overseas base) and doing advent activities and such, I could go to “their space” and bring with me the Good News and Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace of the Advent season. I’m going to have to think about this one a bit more and pray about how to implement it.
    As far as how I have adapted my entertaining habits to accommodate others, as I am currently living in shared housing/dormitory style building, being hospitable often means INCLUDING more people- getting people together and/or going to THEIR homes or setting up a plastic table outside. I love to bake so when I make a batch of cookies, I sometimes will bring a plate of goodies to a neighbor, or when it’s a birthday, rather than invite the person to our overseas base, we bake a cake and go to their home. It has been a lovely experience and to be able to celebrate and visit with people in their space. It feels more intimate as well at times, because I get a glimpse of what life is like for them. It’s eye-opening.
    Okay, just some thoughts as I process your blog post.
    Thank you again for your insight and message! 🙂

  4. Patty Stallings November 21, 2016

    Lauren, this phrase “entering other people’s spaces well” has been rambling around in my thinking since I first read your post. As we travel around on home assignment, we are getting practice of being hospitable in other people’s homes. But I’ve also been thinking how being aware and intentional about entering other people’s space well in conversations, in business transactions, in parenting, even in emails – basically any human interaction – has the potential of making that engagement more fruitful and meaningful. This phrase is going on my list of principles for intentional living. Thanks!

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