I love to chase down root words—their history, their origin. More often than not, it widens or shifts my entire perspective on a topic.

Want an example? Think of the word “host.” To me, being a host always conjures up anxiety. Hurrying to get ready before guests arrive, always a little behind schedule, more than a little concerned that everything would turn out the way I had planned.

Now jump with me over to the word “host” in Scripture. It’s often connected to references of angels, called heavenly host. Kind of makes you think of angels as divine butlers, doesn’t it? Well…think again. The word ‘host’ in Hebrew is actually a military term, meaning army, authority, in-command.

I realized I had “hosting” all wrong. Instead of feeling as if my guests were in charge (which they didn’t even want to be), I needed to get comfortable with what I had to offer my guests.

I remember walking into my Amish friend Rebecca’s home. She was in the middle of scrubbing her kitchen floor, and in I traipsed with muddy shoes. She put down her mop, and said that, afterwards, she’d enjoy washing it again and thinking about our visit. She made me feel thoroughly welcomed, just as I was. Just as she was.

That’s the real goal of hospitality: being comfortable with what we have to offer to our guests. And it starts with the host.

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