People tell me they have the gift of hospitality by which I think they mean that they like dinner parties. 

They mean that they have (or aspire to have) a beautiful home with an underutilised spare room, in which they enjoy entertaining exotic, interesting, appreciative guests who confirm just how lovely their home is. 

This is not the gift of hospitality. This is the gift of a box of chocolates. Biblical hospitality starts in the heart and not the ikea catalogue. It is a really bad lifestyle choice. True hospitality allows for interruption, goes the second mile and above all it is *present* to people. (This is where I fail the most). "Listening is the highest form of hospitality," says Henri Nouwen - "not to change people but offering them space where change can take place." 

Hospitality like this rarely comes with a box of chocolates. It can often hurt our schedules, our emotions, our bank accounts and, yes, it can even mess up our homes.