Radical Hospitality and Dying to Self

Adventures with New Zealanders

Once upon a time my wonderful sister in Christ Leigh messaged me about a possible rendezvous in Florida, 11940705_10153130574554716_4615197849231871519_nso that she and her friend Eloise could go to Universal Studios and DisneyWorld. They both were getting ready to serve as Summer Missionaries at Life Teen Camp Hidden Lake. The problem was that I live in Tampa, not Orlando… The parks aren’t exactly in my backyard. But thanks to Life Teen Missions, hospitality is a highly encouraged gift of love and I was being challenged to muster up as much as I could. But how the heck was I going to host these back-packing New Zealand ladies?!
Long story short, my gal pal Carly has a family whose capacity for hospitality is almost as big as the city they live in (which is coincidentally Orlando). Carly and her parents opened the doors of their beautiful big home to us the night Leigh and Eloise drove down to Florida after camp. The whole weekend was not just a beautiful weekend getaway but a beautiful time of fellowship, sisterhood, rest,  and dying to self…

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Radical hospitality is a special virtue which has powerfully graced itself in my heart. This act of service is something I both love and hate. Wait what? That doesn’t make sense? Let’s clarify.

Hospitality refers to a welcoming gesture, being accommodating to someone’s needs and wants. Whereas radical hospitality is far more demanding and a greater act of love. Radical hospitality, “rad hosp” knows no bounds and is a committed dying-to-self lifestyle that seeks to serve others in all aspects of life.

I was terrified while driving, photo courtesy of Leigh.

Rad hosp means I don’t wait for the day I become an innkeeper to grab someone’s luggage. But rather, keep my heart open to how at anytime someone will be placed on my path in need of my time and effort.

Perhaps I’m called to practice rad hosp in someone needing to talk to me at a time when I may be in a hurry.It’s in those small moments of being in my own impatience I practice selfless love in giving them my welcoming presence. Perhaps I’m called to practice radical hospitality in another toilsome task, such as stepping aside from my personal agenda for the day in order to assist a friend with a big errand she has to do. Radical hospitality is serving someone’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs… even at a time when it is inconvenient.

For me, it was driving that weekend. I personally hate driving, especiallly for long periods of time. Also, Orlado isn’t exactly the easiest place to navigate through. Considering how much traveling these girls were doing throughout the states Carly and I joyfully took the initiative to take turns to paying for meals, and it was such a pleasure to take off some of the financial burden.

For Carly and her step-mom Stephanie it was sharing their time with Leigh and Eloise. They were so personable and relational with them, not only did they open their home to the girls but really shared their hearts and lives with them. It was such a beautiful time. One night Eloise fell asleep early, so Carly, Leigh, and I were laying in Stephanie’s bed with her talking about life and experiences. Those small tender moments of quality time and night prayer were more special to me than going shopping or to the parks.

It was also such a treat for Carly and I to see how the girls responded to everything around them, all of it being new! They were blown away by the parks, such as the Seuss Landing section of Islands of Adventure, fell in love with food from Panera Bread, and went absolutely crazy over the site of a two-story Forever 21 store.

Dying to Self

Dying to self is the source of all authentic giving type of love, esp chalky in service and rad hosp. We have been trained to have our thoughts and actions benefit us with ease and courtesy, that dying to self is a long and painful process. This laboring process tugs at even the most stubborn parts of me that wallow in grief and self-involved necessity. Even though I continue to grow as an individual and humble servant, I think that I have done as much dying to self as I can take. But oh happy fault, another trial and error teaches me the weight of my humanity in the realization that there is still so much more of me to offer up. When I seek to die to myself, I seek to die my childish ways, life-sucking habits, and vindictive nature. Simply put, we die to ourselves in order to let go of everything we cripple onto, all of which so we can learn to live for others.


“Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” – John 13:12-15

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