Hospitality

Family Values Week Four:  "Hospitality"  
This week I am continuing my sermon series entitled Family Values: Rediscovering What's Really Important with a sermon on Hospitality.
I think the best illustration of hospitality in action within the Christian community is revealed in the time honored tradition of potluck dinners.   Potluck dinners are so named because everyone who attends brings a dish to share with the community.  The idea is that when everyone brings something, there's plenty to go around and everyone gets a chance to share and sample to their heart's content.  I have had some crazy good meals at church potluck dinners.
I have a confession to make, though.  I am the guy that brings Kentucky Fried Chicken to the potluck.  I bring it, man.  Straight up in the box so everyone knows what it is.  I have NEVER taken home leftovers.
Church potluck dinners are almost always unfair, though.  Someone generally forgets or brings very little.  Someone else brings something that no one really wants to eat.  Then there are the "popular"
 dishes (see above) that run out quickly or dishes that people poured their heart and soul into because they knew it was going to be "on stage" at church.  There's a lot of disparity when it comes to potlucks.  They aren't very fair.
In keeping with the way we deal with most "unfair" issues like this, we probably should abandon the whole concept of potluck dinners.
After all, we wouldn't want the people who made Lobster Thermidor for the potluck to get mad at the people who brought tortilla chips and salsa. 
Yeah, that's not going to happen.  But this should make us think... 
It's pretty evident that Hospitality is one of the values that our culture used to value, but has gone by the wayside in recent years.  When I say "hospitality" I mean the value of welcoming the stranger, opening one's home to friends and family, giving of what we have to those that do not... that kind of hospitality.  It's as if we have decided that since we can't possibly solve all of our community's issues we don't really need to try at all.  We've become so busy and so distracted by the demands of our culture and the way individuality is stressed above community that we no longer take the time to open our homes, share meals, be welcoming.
 
There was a study done recently about the state of hospitality in America.  They discovered the following about the number of people who opened their homes and shared a meal with friends or family: 
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