Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hospitality - Poor vs. Rich

Years ago when Jon and I were poor colleges students and then again when we moved to NC we made a promise to ourselves that we would never "act rich" regardless of how much money we might have someday. We even had this joke that we were secretly wealthy and we were just pretending to be poor. 
We'd seen how people react to those they think are wealthy and we didn't want to be treated that way. It also seemed to make poorer people feel uncomfortable to be in the homes of the wealthy. Wealth seems to intimidate those who've never had it. And I NEVER want my friends to feel too uncomfortable to come to my house or afraid to invite me to their house because of how I might live.

I've made several new friends here in Cookeville and recently two of them were invited to my home. It's amazing to me but both of them made a comment on how inviting my home was (were you talking about MY house?) and how they weren't afraid to invite me to their home because I wasn't wealthy. Both of them made comments about other mutual friends that they felt uncomfortable in their homes because they seemed so much more well off. One girl mentioned going to a home where everything was obviously purchased from a very pricey store. Most of my furniture and accessories are mismatched, from less expensive stores or given to us. At first I wasn't sure how to feel. Did that mean I looked poor? I have a fixer upper, two kids, two dogs and a cat. All of which make my home look very lived in. I'm not the greatest at decorating and can't seem to keep the toys picked up for very long. But then again, do I want to look rich? No, not really. I want my home to look homey and inviting. Even if I serve soup for lunch I want the guests to feel comfortable and loved. So I'm really hoping that is what they meant.

Now to clarify - Jon and I aren't rich. We probably won't ever be. But if we were willing to go into debt for a home, cars, etc. we could probably appear a lot more wealthy than we do now.

So it seems that I would not have two friends (and possibly more) if I had been willing to go into debt to buy some of the homes that Jon and I were looking at. 

I certainly didn't go this route to make more friends. =) But I'm glad that my home makes my friends feel comfortable. And I am going to continue to invite my friends over and make them feel as comfortable and welcome as I can.

Like many other virtues, hospitality is practiced in its perfection by the poor. If the rich did their share, how would the woes of this world be lightened!
Mrs. C.M. Kirkland

Take care to keep open house: because in this way some have had angels as their guests, without being conscious of it. 
Hebrews 13:2 BBE

 When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 
Romans 12:13 NLT

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