God has used marriage to teach me a lot of things:
- I’ve learned how selfish I can be.
- I’ve learned that I sing a lot, loudly, and terribly (Space Jam sound track, word-for-word, in my darkest hours).
- I’ve learned that I’m worse with directions than even I thought (on the other hand, Hannah is a human GPS that rivals Google Maps).
- I’ve learned that I’m not good at everything and that Hannah is much better than me at a lot of things.
- I’ve learned that is a good thing; at our best, we make each other better.
One of the areas where Hannah is obviously more gifted than I am is hospitality. Honestly, I used to not understand what the big fuss was about hospitality. It felt like a skill set that was more entrenched in being Southern than maybe distinctly Christian, until I saw the way my wife was able to make people feel at home in our home.
We have hosted so many things in Baton Rouge (house church, community groups, parties, showers, college nights, marriage counseling sessions, etc.) in our home since we moved here to start Progression Church, and it is obvious that when Hannah is in our home, others want to be as well. She thinks of things I would never think of, and I believe she sees it more as mission critical than just Southern hospitality.
It struck me recently that she sets the tone for us so well because she does “Martha” work with a “Mary” heart. She cares about the little things that make our home “warm” because she simply wants people to experience community and Jesus. She doesn’t want people to be distracted with things that I so easily forget, like where are the forks, is there toilet paper in the bathroom, is the chicken really done on the inside?
I truly believe that my wife helps other people experience Jesus when they come to our home because she thinks like Jesus. Jesus wasn’t just a master communicator and leader when He walked the Earth. Jesus was also incredibly hospitable.
He may have not had a home during His ministry, but that really isn’t the essence of hospitality anyway. He cared about people deeply, made even the vilest sinners feel welcome in His presence, and fostered real and deep relationships with others. He did those things because He loved people, and I believe it helped His followers connect with Him on a deeper level.
I’m so glad that my wife has that Jesus-style hospitality-thing down, because I truly believe that’s one of the practical reasons people seem to connect well with others and with the Lord when they hang out at the Crain Casa.
I may never become as capable as Hannah in the realm of hospitality, but I’m glad that I’m married to her. Through her excellence in this area, she has shown me the importance of doing all that we can to help people feel welcome so they can connect with community and Jesus more easily.
That’s a mission worth fighting for, and that’s why hospitality is so important.