Best of Daily Reflections: Mi Casa Es Su Casa

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus...

Acts 4:32

Growing up in Mexico, the courteous response to a compliment about a physical possession was always to offer to let the person borrow it. It sounds strange now, but “te lo presto cuando quieras” (you can borrow it whenever you want) was a common phrase I used, I heard it from others, and we acted on it regularly. We borrowed many things from each other, and truly valued sharing as one of the highest forms of a compliment.

In this same Latino spirit, the Spanish phrase “mi casa es su casa” (my house is your house) is famous for embodying the warm hospitality that many experience in Latin-American cultures. It makes for a wonderful home greeting, however many people have not experienced the traditional interaction that would follow, and the extent of use of the possessive adjective “su,” which means “your.”

Come in and sit down on “your” couch.

“Your” bathroom is down the corner to the right.

Visit anytime, we’re at “your” service.

These phrases are a representation of the way a proper host would offer their home to guests. Though I never heard stories of any guests actually taking possession of a host’s couch or bathroom fixtures, the sincere offering of every part of a home to guests provides great insight into a different culture of hospitality that values sharing and giving.

When I think of God’s words on material possessions, my initial thoughts are about tithing, supporting ministry, and giving to those in need. Then I remember more challenging lessons of stewardship, like the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), and Jesus’ radical challenge to “sell all your possessions” (Matthew 19:21). The early Christians acted on Jesus’ words when they “sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need” (Acts 2:45) and they shared in all things (Acts 4:32-37).

While I want to think of giving as an action or event, I know that true generosity is a lifestyle characteristic. When I consider all the possible applications of the scripture “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), I think of the blessing of giving to family, friends, and important relationships, as well as making it part of moments of welcoming and celebration. Sincerely offering that “mi casa es su casa” can be a true blessing of generous hospitality.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What is your initial reaction to the different ways that other cultures share and give? What are the types of interactions that come to mind when you read that it is more blessed to give than to receive? Have you experienced generosity as part of hospitality?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your blessings and generosity in ways above and beyond what I deserve. When I read how the early Christians lived, I’m convicted and challenged. I want to see your perspective on the possessions you have given me, and use them to be a blessing to others. Help me demonstrate generous hospitality for your Kingdom. Amen.


Outrageous Hospitality

Romans 12:13 encourages us to practice hospitality. In the Message version, that verse reads: "be inventive in hospitality." Translated, the word hospitality means showing love to strangers. It's more than opening up our homes to the people we know well. Outrageous hospitality extends even to people who aren't at all like us, and who wouldn't usually show up on our radar screens.

Read and share the stories and articles in this series, Outrageous Hospitality. We hope they'll help you develop a working definition of what it means to practice hospitality in your community, your family, your workplace, and your church. In what ways might you be inventive when it comes to hospitality—reaching beyond your usual sphere of influence?