The typical illustration of hospitality in the church is an exhortation to married people to "invite a single over for dinner." But there's no reason it should only flow in one direction. Friends are friends. We shouldn't penalize them when they come in pairs.
So last night I invited some married friends to dinner. Only it wasn't at my house. It turned out to be an inconvenient time for my housemate, so instead of the hassle of rescheduling, I thought about where I could go with this movable feast. My friend Doug, a single man, immediately came to mind. He is always inviting people over and has made his home a hospitable haven. So I asked him if he'd mind if I cooked at his house. (He's also good friends with the guests, which was why I felt the liberty to ask him.) As is typical of him, he was immediately willing to do it.
One couple couldn't make it, but the other couple could. And they asked if they could bring their 19-year-old summer houseguest who is interning at a job in the area. So I cooked for five, a blended group of ages and stages. It was one of the most relaxed dinner parties I've ever hosted, and that's because I didn't do it alone. Doug prepped the house and set the table before I came over, and he supervised the grilling.
So why am I telling you this? Two reasons. One, Scripture tells us to practice hospitality (Romans 12:13). This command is set in a passage about life in the Body of Christ. Just a few verses earlier, the apostle Paul writes: "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, although many, are one in the body of Christ and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them..." (vv. 4-6). We singles don't have the same function or gifts as married people. (We don't even have the same gifts or function among ourselves.) We are each uniquely and individually equipped to serve God's purposes in His church, but we share the same command--to use those different gifts. What that looks like follows in verses 9 to 21. Among the highlights: Let love be genuine. Outdo one another in showing honor. Rejoice in hope. Be constant in prayer. And seek to show hospitality. So hospitality is expected of each member of the Body of Christ, not just the married ones.
The second reason I'm telling you this is to encourage single adults to serve together. I've held many jointly-hosted events with friends, from an elaborate tea for 40 women to a formal New Year's Eve party. Few single adults have all the china, equipment, or even space for such parties. But if we share what God has given us, it seems to work well.
So if you are drifting from old friends who are enjoying marital bliss, remember to "invite a married for dinner." And then ask another friend to help.
P.S. If anyone else has some good tips for the hostess who works all day and rushes home to cook, please let us know.