Living Open-handed Lives

BY EMMA CRAUFORD

The Bible is pretty clear on the two most important commands that God has given to his people.  In Matthew chapter 22 verse 37, Jesus responds to the ‘experts in the law at the time’ who ask him which, out of all the commandments, is the greatest.

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

It’s pretty straight forward.

We are called to LOVE God and LOVE People.  When it comes to the word HOSPITALITY, I fear most of us have been conditioned to believe that it’s mainly about FOOD; the cooking, serving and eating it, with and for others. It’s true that food is one important element of it, but when you actually delve into the meaning of HOSPITALITY, you begin to realise that it is SO MUCH more than that.

Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors and strangers.  How beautiful are these words associated with being HOSPITABLE:

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OPEN-HANDED. I love that.

When I sit with those words for a minute, it brings to mind an image of an offering, something in my hands that I can give to another. That’s what we need to be thinking about when we think of hospitality.

And as women who love Jesus, we have been called to live open-handed lives.  This applies to extroverts and introverts.

To those with much and those with little.

To those who love to cook and those who don’t.

To those with busy, chaotic homes and those with quiet, perfectly styled homes.

To those with small children and to empty nesters.

Where the difference lies is in the HOW we practice it. Giving of our time, our stuff, our skills to bless friends and strangers is going to look different for all of us. Not only is that OK, but as God crafted us all as his children, and made us all different for a reason, then that is EXACTLY how He wanted it. So let’s rejoice in that and get about playing our small part.

There are endless ways of living open-handed and generous lives to those around us, one way doesn’t trump another.

There is no difference between an offering of a kitchen bench and a coffee to a weary friend, than the 3 course dinner party with matching wines for a large gathering.

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I have been blessed with friends who will hang out my washing when I am sick and pick up my groceries for me, right through to those who will buy us a beautiful meal for a special occasion.

Friends who will have my crazy family over for BBQ chicken and rolls and let us take over their home, right through to those who show their love by planning and cooking a fancy meal. They are all equally friends, they are all loved and are all, in their own way, living open-handed and generous lives.

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In this Esther and Friends space, I am really looking forward to exploring how we, as Daughters of the King, can go about LOVING PEOPLE and living open-handed lives in our own unique ways.

emma

Emma is from Sydney, Australia, where she is raising 3 beautiful boys alongside her husband.  Her happy place is her kitchen, and cookfasteatslow.com is her blog about her everyday simple food, her faith and her family.

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Here at Esther & Friends, we’re big fans of shereadstruth.com.  Here are some gorgeous images from them regarding hospitality:

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