My parents were the most hospitable people I knew growing up. They are getting older now, so hospitality is not as frequent.
I learned a lot from them. They had someone over to the house almost every Sunday, either for dinner before evening church services or for desert after evening church. My mom would buy some kind of cake and serve it with coffee, while my parents visited with a family.
Hospitality is a lost art. Instead, people would rather flush money down the toilet by going out to eat instead of opening their homes and investing in the lives of others.
It is time to rethink this whole wealth thing with the rising tide of inflation. Gas prices are higher than ever. The house my wife and I are seeking to move into is twice as expensive as it would have been five years ago.
I might be exaggerating, but you get the point. And we live in a culture that is saturated with mishandling money at the expense of loving others. Money is god for most people whether you have it or don’t.
First Timothy 6:10 says that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Romans 13:8 says, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.” Proverbs 10:5 says, “He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.”
So how do we enjoy life when times are financially tough? Let me give you some ideas that will hopefully conjure up nostalgic memories. First, cook your food at home. Stop eating out all the time.
I know that you are busier than Elon Musk, who works 20 hours a day and is superstitious about taking vacations. Your life is busier than the most accomplished people on planet earth, lol.
Or maybe we need to confess that we are too lazy to buy the groceries and eat our meals at home with the people we love. Eat at home 99% of the week, and make going out special, even if all you can afford is going out for an ice cream at McDonald’s.
That’s okay. It will be special to you.
Second, prioritize eating dinner with your family. I know that you are busier than my father, who worked 12 hours a day as a truck driver and took side jobs to make a little extra money. Keep in mind, my father and mother made sure we ate dinner as a family every night of the week.
Cut the fat off your life, and give your time to your loved ones every evening. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.”
Spend your time and wealth on people, not things. We live in a culture where men spend their time and money on themselves, and women are told that they are nothing if they do not have a successful career outside of the home.
Ecclesiastes 4:8 teaches that you can never be satisfied with life unless you have someone with whom to share it. Maybe that means that you tell your kids that they can only do one after-that school activity a semester and you are committing yourself to being home every evening for family dinner.
That might mean you sacrifice making a few more bucks. That’s okay. You cannot place a price tag on the 365 minimum extra hours you will gain with your loved ones over the next 12 months.
Third, show someone hospitality. This can take the form of inviting others over or visiting them. My siblings and I use to race to the door to be the first person to greet a visitor when we were kids. We loved having people over.
My wife and I were planning on going on a double date while a sister from church watched our children on Thursday. Turns out that my youngest son’s birthday is on Thursday, so we canceled the date. Instead, the couple that was going to watch our kids asked whether we could have a birthday party for my son at their house.
People are more important than money. Time is more precious than prestige. And using the home that God gave you to invest in your loved ones will make life more wonderful.
The Rev. Andrés Reyes is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Perry.