In my article last week I talked about my sense of identity and purpose. I also mentioned how we come to an understanding of identity and purpose by looking at our character qualities, values and spiritual gifts. Connections, Deeper Connections really build on this understanding of who I am and what I am here to do; however, it is in Exceptional Life that I discuss qualities, values and gifts more comprehensively.
Today, I would like to focus on Spiritual Gifts. I often ask people if they know what their spiritual gifts are with the response being; ‘I’m not sure.’ I was reminded a couple of weeks ago when Christine and I visited my mother what a spiritual gift looks like. Without a doubt, one of my mom’s spiritual gifts is hospitality. A definition I found years ago concerning hospitality is someone who is a lover of strangers. What I learned about hospitality in this definition is that it differs from what we consider entertainment. The difference is all about perspective and attitude. Someone who has the gift of hospitality welcomes the stranger when they show up at the door unannounced and invites them to come in and receive a meal and accommodation. The host is not concerned about what their home looks like in that moment or whether they have lots of food in the pantry. They just want to express their love for people and their gratitude for what they have.
Someone who is into entertaining guests is very conscious of what their home looks like when guests arrive and whether they have the right meal prepared. They are more focused on making an impression than they are about just giving of what they have.
I took a moment on Easter Sunday to watch my mom preparing a ham and a cake for Easter dinner. She is eighty six years old and not able to stand for any length of time; however, on this day she stood for a couple of hours determined to contribute to the evening meal. Yes; she likes her home to clean and the food to be delicious. I would even go as far as to say that she likes to entertain guests. But, it is her heart and the love and warmth she brings to those guests that transform’s entertainment into hospitality.
I remember clearly as I was growing up just how she welcomed strangers into our home with an open-handed generosity that was overwhelming in its sincerity. My mom has this cute smile on her face when she first greets you. It is playful and friendly. Her smile says clearly that I am very happy to meet you. There were five of us kids for her to care for when I was young, but there were always plenty of our friends hanging around enjoying my mom’s hospitality. When I began to attend Bible College my sister and I would often bring classmates home to stay the weekend. One summer I had a friend stay the entire summer before going back to school. Everyone loved my mom.
My most recent experience of mom’s gift of hospitality has to do with how she has welcomed Christine into our family. Of course I was concerned about introducing Christine to her. I have gone through a significant change in my life over the past five years and I would have understood if mom struggled a little to embrace a new relationship in my life. However, the first time I brought Christine to mom’s and introduced her I saw that cute smile on her face and the sincere warmth and generosity that mom brings into every new engagement. By the end of that first visit it was obvious that Christine had been adopted into the family through mom’s spiritual gift of hospitality. Since that first visit we have continued to visit mom at least two times a year. Each visit strengthens the bond between mom and adopted daughter. Such is the power of spiritual gifts.
What do you think is one of your spiritual gifts?
Terry Lige is a Kelowna life coach and the founder & head facilitator of Inside Out Leadership. Experience life-changing breakthroughs in his transformational personal development workshops.