Tag Archives: hospitality

Being Neighborly

We’ve been on vacation for a couple of weeks. Bruce and I drove to San Diego to see our daughter and son-in-law and our two gorgeous granddaughters. Then up I-5 to Oregon.

In Washington state, we did all the touristy kinds of things: toured Seattle, went whale-watching, ate in nice restaurants, camped in North Cascades National Park.

We’d heard that Colorado had gotten lots of rain while we were gone, so we were concerned that our front lawn was going to look disreputable by the time we returned.

But when we drove up to our house, the law looked quite nice.

Bruce and I looked at each other in surprise. The grass must have decided to slow its growth during the weeks we were away.

We unpacked the car and started to put all our camping supplies away. Bruce went into the backyard to throw some stuff in the trash. When he came back into the house, he said, “Hey, look at the backyard.”

I looked out the window. The grass must have been eighteen inches tall.

“I guess someone did cut our front lawn, but who?”

Bruce shrugged. We’d have to find out so we could thank them.

The next day, our young neighbors to the north were outside playing with their toddler. Bruce asked them if they’d taken care of our lawn and they said yes. He thanked them and told them how thoughtful that was.

Now that’s a good neighbor. They didn’t even need to be asked to mow our lawn. Just did it because they knew we were gone.

It was kind of humbling for me, too. Bruce and I are usually the first to make friendly overtures and to show hospitality.

It makes me want to be a better neighbor, too. We’re new to the area, and most of our neighbors kind of keep to themselves. But what better way of saying hello than helping a neighbor do a project, or shovel their snow? Or maybe invite them over?

If you have an idea for making friends in the neighborhood, I’d love to hear about it.



I think the American church has lost the skill or gift of showing hospitality. It seems years ago, we were all visiting neighbors, and providing meals and inviting new attenders of the church to come over for a get-acquainted meal.

Now, it hardly ever happens. I don’t know why, because there’s really nothing very difficult about showing hospitality.

Go ahead. Put your tech stuff away. (You won’t die!) Turn off the TV. (You can always record your favorite show.)

Hospitality can be as easy as this:

“Hey, you’re new. Wanna come on over for lunch? Naw, you don’t have to bring anything. We’re just cooking brats on the barbecue. You can? Great! Here’s our address.”


“Hey, I’m so glad you moved onto our block. Wanna come on over for tea sometime? You’re free? Great! How about tomorrow?”

When your guest(s) arrives, here are some great conversation starters:

  • How did you two meet?
  • What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
  • Where all have you lived?
  • Where were you born?
  • What kind of work do you do?

I’m sure you can think of your own questions. People love to talk about themselves. And they’ll remember you for expressing an interest in them. (Just make sure that when you ask your questions you’re prepared to listen!) Who knows? You may have just begun a wonderful and rewarding friendship.

I think a lot of Christians think that ministry and serving is all about doing some great and glorious preaching, or going to Haiti, or giving humongous amounts of money, or running a soup kitchen.

But one of the grandest things we can do for God’s Kingdom is simply show an interest in others. You probably wouldn’t know it when you see people pass by. But most—maybe all of them—yearn for someone to take an interest in them.

I know. At times—such as7-20-11 010 when we move and start going to a new church— I’ve been one of those people.

“Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13 NIV Bible)