Reverse Your Welcome Mat

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | May 18, 2023

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 

John 13:14-16

Walk up to most homes, and you’ll find a welcome mat at the foot of the front door. Some have the words “Welcome” in large letters. Others are simply decorative or functional, but the sentiment is the same. A welcome mat paves the way from outside to inside and vice versa. It’s there to transport people across a threshold. But a welcome mat is also a barrier that separates us from them. That is, until an actual welcome is extended and the door is opened.

At our house, we have a decorative and functional welcome mat. No one has ever commented on it (until today). But people don’t need to. They know the character of the family living inside. They know that sometimes our door is wide open to family, friends, and strangers, and to be completely honest, there are also times when no one else is welcome. The Lovaglia family knows that the heart of our home reflects the true hospitality of our hearts. Sometimes we’re selfless about this, and sometimes we’re not. But we’ve discovered over the years that when we reverse our welcome mat in our mind and heart, God opens the door wider for us to serve and be served.

At the famous Last Supper in John 13, Jesus does what He always does—He teaches and leads by example first, paving the way for transformation on both sides of the welcome mat. You don’t have to take Jesus’ foot-washing command literally to live it out in relationships. He calls us to embody a consistent posture of humility and hospitality toward others and one another. When this happens, space is created for mutual servanthood to emerge. A meal shared can turn into a soulful conversation. A wound dressed can result in physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual healing over time. A guest room provided can turn rest into respite, a space where one can finally exhale the pressures and pains of life. It doesn’t matter if we’re knocking to get in or receiving those who enter; we can experience and extend God-honoring hospitality.

The next time you walk out the door, look down. Let the welcome mat remind you that it’s not just an outward statement to guests; it’s an inward reminder of who Christ calls you (and me) to be and become.

Next Steps 

  • What keeps you from being more welcoming? Talk to God and/or a friend about how you would like to live and love people more like Jesus.
  • Who is someone that has welcomed you with open arms during a messy season of life? Send them a text or give them a call today to express your gratitude for their humility and hospitality.