Part Three: The Example of Maria Mahalik
Maria Mahalik’s life does not fit in a box, and neither does her heart for hospitality. Widowed young with three small boys, she’s led a life of faith that would leave many of us gasping for air. In the midst of work and parenting and trials and ministry, Maria always makes time for people. Many have walked through the door of her home and found the door to Christ’s home.
Maria, why do you think hospitality is practiced more rarely these days?
It’s odd because in the business world, everyone talks about collaborating. They know they need each other. But in personal matters, we often isolate ourselves. We can easily believe we’ll be most refreshed if we just focus on ourselves and our families, but it’s not true. The benefit of hospitality is relationships that often end up serving us as well. You get to see God work. You develop friendships that no one can take away from you. You build a rapport where people feel safe with you. You make a difference for Christ. We can’t really measure the impact.
That sounds easy, but what if I don’t know many people?
You have to go to the places where people are. Throw yourself into fellowship, attend meetings, get involved in a community group, strike up conversations. He has called us to be a family. Pray for opportunities. God is quick to help us when our heart desires this.
Have any Bible passages affected you in this area?
Isaiah 58:6-11 calls us to “share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house,” then promises to “break every yoke… and satisfy your desire in scorched places.” To me, sharing our bread is simple, but just look at how powerfully God uses that and brings blessing! When I combine that vision with the command to look not only at my own interests but the interests of others (Phillippians 2:4), I am led straight to the practice of hospitality.
You have three grown sons. How did your lifestyle affect them?
There was always that nagging thought: shouldn’t I be focusing on my own kids instead of reaching out to people? And yes, there is a wise balance, but what happened is that instead of them resenting it, they learned that people are important. My sons have that gift. They are generous, see people in need, and invite them in. They get it because they lived it. They still bring up people’s names and quirky habits that I have long forgotten, and we laugh at funny stories of the times we brought people into our home. God has been more than faithful.
How has your faith been affected by obeying God in this area?
I’ve learned that you can’t outgive God. When you offer what you have, like the poor widow in the Bible, the Lord is pleased. And many times, blessing comes in return. I opened my home to a single woman who lived with me for three years. She recently got married, and we woke up the morning of her wedding singing worship songs around the piano in my living room. I thought to myself, “Look at all this blessing. How could I ever have known what God had in store?” God meets us when we step out in faith, and through it brings blessings beyond what we can perceive.
Thanks, Maria! Do you have any last practical ideas that might help those of us wanting to grow in this area?
- Invite someone over for coffee to pray about something they shared in community group.
- Invite someone to your holiday dinner who doesn’t have family in the area.
- If you’re doing a yard sale or a fun home project, ask someone to come over and do it with you.
- Consider housing an exchange student or a single woman in need.
- Host a Bible study at your house.
- Order pizza for your kids’ friends when they come over.
- If people want to celebrate a birthday, offer your home.
- Turn off the TV and invite someone over for the evening.
- Double a simple recipe and freeze leftovers so you have something for guests.
- Simply ask God, “Where can I be used?”