I want to, but he won’t let me…

I want to, but he won’t let me…

At the Fam­ily Eco­nom­ics Con­fer­ence last week, I was priv­i­leged to par­tic­i­pate on a panel con­cern­ing hos­pi­tal­ity and min­istry. Many really good ques­tions were asked, which we were able to address. I enjoyed lis­ten­ing to the other pan­elists, and I learned much of the grace of the Lord from these godly men and women.

One thing that seemed to res­onate with those in atten­dance was the point that things don’t have to be a pro­duc­tion to be hos­pi­tal­ity. A sim­ple meal shared with joy and thanks­giv­ing is so much more enjoy­able than a 5 star meal served on china if it means that rela­tion­ships are strained and the bud­get is exceeded.

One ques­tioner asked what to do if a father/husband is hes­i­tant to open their home to oth­ers, but the daughter/wife still wants to extend hos­pi­tal­ity. This can truly be some­thing that is dif­fi­cult to live with. Like many other areas of fam­ily life, we must remem­ber that we are com­manded to honor and respect our fathers and hus­bands. We can con­sider alter­na­tive ways to express hos­pi­tal­ity. For exam­ple, per­haps he wouldn’t mind if you brought cook­ies or a meal to some­one in need. But, some­times the issue is big­ger than we think. Per­haps it is an oppor­tu­nity to hear your hus­band or father’s heart on the mat­ter. In all respect and sin­cer­ity, go to him and ask for ways that he would be will­ing to let you extend this grace to oth­ers. And, with humil­ity and sin­cer­ity, ask him what his hes­i­ta­tion is in this area. You just might be sur­prised by his answer. But, before you do that, maybe you can trou­ble shoot it for yourself.

How do you han­dle the fam­ily bud­get? Is he work­ing long and hard, only to find that the money just isn’t quite meet­ing the needs to keep the house run­ning at his expec­ta­tion? Do you com­plain about not hav­ing enough money to do or buy things? We must learn to be con­tent and thank­ful for how God pro­vides for us through our hus­bands or fathers.

How have you han­dled sit­u­a­tions in the past when you were expect­ing com­pany? Were you joy­ful and gra­cious while prepar­ing the home for your guests? This was once my biggest strug­gle. While the fam­ily enjoyed hav­ing com­pany over, NOBODY enjoyed the process of get­ting the house ready for them. I was a bear, grumpy, yelling, frus­trated, angry. Ugh. It was any­thing but pleas­ant. Are you like that? Has your fam­ily learned that this is not a happy expe­ri­ence? Could this be why he is hesitant?

And then there is the issue of clean­li­ness. Is it pos­si­ble that he is embar­rassed to bring peo­ple into your home? Your home, and the state of your belong­ings, reflects on his abil­ity to pro­vide for you. It directly and imme­di­ately shows whether or not he has his house in order.

Can you per­haps take a quick inven­tory and see if any of these issues might be a fac­tor in his unwill­ing­ness to open his home. We need to be care­ful not to assume that the prob­lem lies with an unchar­i­ta­ble hus­band. It might be more with us, and he is hes­i­tant to tell us. I don’t usu­ally enjoy self-examination. But, I’m thank­ful for it. I’d much rather fig­ure it out before I need an exhor­ta­tion from some­one who loves me. If you sus­pect that one of these areas is lack­ing, maybe you can spend a few months build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion that is more hon­or­ing and godly before you approach the sub­ject. Maybe he will notice the extra effort and the sit­u­a­tion will be dis­pelled. But, please remem­ber that this is not a manip­u­la­tive tac­tic. He doesn’t owe you the results you are hop­ing for. Even if you don’t get what you want, if these changes need to be made, then you will be blessed and your fam­ily will be blessed by the results.

I pray that you will be able to extend more hos­pi­tal­ity in the future. If he still says no to peo­ple in the home, con­sider a meet­ing in a park. Pack a pic­nic that shows thought and love. One of the sweet­est and most gen­er­ous times of hos­pi­tal­ity that some­one showed us was a pic­nic in the park. They packed lunch, and it was var­ied and abun­dant. They had a lot of options, but not a ton of things within each option. For exam­ple, they had var­i­ous veg­eta­bles, but none of them indi­vid­u­ally would have filled any­one. And crack­ers, sand­wiches, cheeses, fruit. Sim­ple things, but some­thing for every­one. Aller­gies could be worked around, peo­ple could eat what they liked with­out draw­ing atten­tion to what they didn’t. It was fun. The chil­dren had the free­dom to play out­side with­out fear of break­ing any­thing. Per­fect for a sum­mer day!

Enjoy this won­der­ful prov­i­dence and grace of the Lord. May you be blessed and sanc­ti­fied as you reach out to others.

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