In this series we asked Donita if she would share with us about how the gospel overcomes three “hurdles to hospitality”– pride, possessions and privacy.
If you missed part 1 on “pride,” click here to read it. Here’s part 2 on “possessions”…
DK: How has God helped you understand the nature of your possessions and encouraged you toward hospitality?
Donita: All we have is God’s. Therefore, the stuff we have is for the purpose of glorifying him.
But we’re all selfish from birth. Psalm 51 says that we’re sinful by nature– “conceived in sin.” Job laments “What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous? (Job 15:4)” One of the first words my children learned to say was ‘mine.’ It’s the root of most of their arguments – “It’s mine! I had it first!”
Selfishness isn’t something you simply outgrow as you age. The Lord has brought me through some tough situations to root this sin out of my life. He’s still at work I am naturally a hoarder; I hold on tightly to things. The Lord moved me to three countries to help me let go of my things – proving to me that he provides beyond what we can even think or imagine.
I’m reminded of someone who powerfully demonstrated a self-less love for others in hospitality. She’s a South African lady in Showshanguwe [SHO shan goo vee], a poor township north of Pretoria. Gogo (Zulu for grandma) had “adopted” 8 street kids. They all lived with her in her two-bedroom home. Before going to school or work each of the children had chores to do around the house. Gogo had an open home for people to come and stay, believing that God will provide her every need.
But Gogo also had clear expectations and boundaries for these young people and they felt loved and safe. She knew that her earthly possessions weren’t lasting, but served a greater purpose. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 challenges us to be generous, and not only generous but also intentional. We should give what we have decided in our hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, but cheerfully. So when you have guests it’s okay to have boundaries and communicate them clearly, rather than begrudge hosting and not do it again.
Gogo’s generosity in the time of life when society would tell her she ought to be self-centered has always astounded me and challenged me to love like Jesus.
Jesus warns us to not store up treasures on earth because where our treasure is that is where our heart will be too. Jesus gives us a completely different mindset to what the world tells us about things– He gives instructions to instead “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
There’s no one who demonstrated this heavenly mindset better than him. Though the whole world belongs to Jesus, he chose to come and give his own life in the place of ours– as a punishment for our sin. You could say Jesus’ work on the cross was the ultimate act of hospitality– through him we are reconciled to the Father, brought into his family and home, and in eternity we’ll sit at His table and eat with Him.
In light of Christ’s amazing gift of hospitality toward me, one question I ask myself when receiving or buying something new is “Can I lay this down? Do I treasure these things more than Christ?”
In summary, all we have is God’s, so all we have is for the purpose of glorifying him. We should use what he’s given us to bless other people in Jesus’ name.
People—who have eternal souls and destinies—are so much more important than things. C.S. Lewis reminds us in The Weight of Glory,
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”
We have a rule in our house: All toys are for sharing with everyone. Through this I hope to teach my children to value relationships more than things.
This rule also reminds us of Christ who gave the ultimate gift—his life—so that through him we could enjoy the ultimate hospitality—fellowship with God forever.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Donita (“Donny”) is from South Africa and has lived in the Middle East for over a decade. She is married to Glen, a pastor at Redeemer Church of Dubai. Donny homeschools their four children (Joshua -7, Kalea -5, Sam -4, Liam -3), professionally bakes wedding and party cakes, and enjoys discipling ladies. Donny throws outstanding parties and loves the color pink.