I have to confess that my wife and I are partial to watching programmes about other people’s houses. You’ll understand this is purely from the perspective of artistic/aesthetic appreciation. It has nothing at all to do with covetousness. I’m a pastor after all!

Usually this involves drooling over vast properties, whilst wondering where they’ve put all the clutter that seems to spill out of our shelves and cover our work surfaces. So imagine my surprise when last week we ended up spiritually encouraged having watched a home improvement programme.

“Your Home Made Perfect” (BBC2) seemed an attractive option, if a somewhat unrealistic expectation. Apparently the perfect home does not contain an incontinent labrador! So we turned on and tuned in.

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First I have to say that the show has the most infectiously funny and enthusiastic presenter I’ve experienced for a long time. I long to communicate with the natural warmth, realism and zest for life that Angela Scanlon has.

The basic premise is that each programme features a couple with a pretty ordinary house, with pretty ordinary lives, with pretty ordinary issues and with a reasonable amount of dosh to spend on improvement. Two architects look at their home, listen to their wishes and then come up with two different plans. They then take the couple through their ideas using Virtual Reality mock ups of their house. This is very cool. The couple chose one, it’s built and the show closes with a tour of the results.

So what’s encouraging about that? The couple on the first show where Christians! It was framed in the usual BBC way of “…they’re very involved in their local church…”. but right from the outset one of their main reasons for wanting to increase their downstairs space was so that they could have their church group in. You even got to see what looked like a Life Group lunch (enter name for your church), with loads of different people packed into their rather cramped kitchen diner chatting and eating together!

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It was fantastic to see how Andy and Esther wanted to spend £55,000 so that they could do more hospitality. (It was actually £70,000 in the end. That just showed that this was a real life building project!) Yes, they wanted a more effective space for their family. Yes, they wanted to be able to have parents to stay. But in the end the way they celebrated the project being completed wasn’t to sit down with their three girls and enjoy the new luxury and space with a quiet family meal. It was to invite just about everyone they knew in to tramp all over their new immaculate dream home!

Hospitality is one of those things in the Bible that we think is optional. An extra God put in for some Christians who are good at cooking and not very busy.

It’s actually commanded 4 times in the New Testament (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9; 3 John 8) and commended twice. It appears to be opening your home for food, friendship and a bed to stay. It’s to be offered to da variety of groups: church members, strangers and Christian workers. Therefore, it appears to be different to having your family or friends over. In Romans 12 it is the way you help those in need. In Hebrews 13 and 1 Peter 4 it appears to be the way you show love to brothers and sisters in Christ. In 3 John 8 it is how you work together to further the truth of the gospel.

It was such an encouragement to see a young couple willing to put use their home in the way that the Lord intended. It was even more of an encouragement to see it on the telly.

By the way the design they chose was very trendy. We instantly started looking round our sitting room wondering where we could have an offset diagonal extension. Though we were still left wondering where they’d put all the stuff!

Here’s the link in case you want to watch it:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00048xf/your-home-made-perfect-series-1-episode-1

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