Husband and I often invite guests over for dinner. We host large family gatherings at holiday time. Since we moved into our house twenty five years ago, it has been the place for both sides of the family to gather. With a large living room and dining room combination, we can set up tables for twenty-four, more if we spill over into the kitchen/breakfast room. Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthdays and graduations have been celebrated here. We’ve hosted youth group gatherings, Sunday School dinners and lots of large groups in our yard as well. We also enjoy entertaining small groups as well. A few years ago we bought a large dining table that seats ten. It is fun to fill it with friends and listen to the lively conversation and laughter. I used to get very uptight over entertaining. I would have a meltdown just prior to the guests arriving as I frantically tried to pick up a house I had just cleaned, but that little hands (and sometimes big ones) and dog paws came right behind me and messed up. Then, a friend reminded me that people come to our house to see us, not our messy home. That as long as it is straight, it doesn’t have to be spotless and to save the heavy cleaning for after they leave. Then, I don’t spend the whole time fretting over footprints in my nicely moped floor. Now, I can enjoy entertaining. So, I was surprised when I took a “ministry gifts inventory” at church that hospitality is not one of my spiritual gifts. This questionnaire was designed to help our church membership identify their strengths so that they can see opportunities to serve and minister in our church. It showed such abilities as administration, evangelism, exhortation, giving, helps, hospitality, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, shepherding and teaching. The statements to identify the gift of hospitality were: I enjoy using my home to minister to others; Guests say they feel comfortable in my home; I have the ability to make strangers feel at ease; I enjoy giving food and lodging to those in need; I like having people visit my home; I enjoy welcoming guests and making them feel comfortable and involved. Rating those statements 0-3, I scored a 14. But, I was higher in administration, leadership, exhortation (encouragement) and teaching. So, does that mean that I can use the excuse, “Hospitality is not my gift,” to refuse to invite guests over any more? No, I have the obligation as well as the opportunity to continue making my home a place where people feel welcome and comfortable. I have been given much, therefore, I have much to share. I realized part of the reason I scored lower is because I restrict my hospitality to those I know and love. I will have to work on using my home to minister to strangers or newcomers. In the meantime, there will be seventeen for Mother’s Day dinner tonight as I practice hospitality.