Thursday, July 7, 2011

Serbian Hospitality vs. Suburbia Hospitality

This is a continuation of yesterday's post regarding some take home, and "free" (not intended by the author) applications from the book The Forgotten 500.  I was amazed by the tenacity of these airmen to tell their story and to honor and clear the name of Draza Mihailovich, who was purported by the American and British government to be a Nazi collaborator. Unfortunately British communist moles ceased the opportunity to convince the Allies that the communist partisan Josip Tito was their true ally. In addition, Mihailovich actually cared that Germany would kill 100 civilians for every German soldier who died. So his fight against the Nazi's had to take the form of sabotage instead of straight up guerilla warfare. But it was his concern for not only the welfare of his people, but of the foreign Americans whom he considered allies (even though their country didn't see things the same way) which I found so amazing.
These small Serbian country villages housed more than 500 Americans. They providing for them even though they themselves had very little. Plum brandy, goat cheese, and very little else proved enough to sustain these needy fellows during the slavic stay. The Serbian hospitality to our countrymen knew no bounds. These laid back country denied food for themselves so others could eat and even offered up their straw beds to instead sleep in barns.

Other times their hospitality could and did actually get many a villager killed. There is one account where the Nazi's threatened to kill an entire village of 200 people if Mihailovich's forces didn't give up their American airmen. While the Americans begged to be turned in to spare these innocent-not to mention folks who had been so good to them as well-civilians, Mihailovich refused. The Germans made good on their promise and killed the 200 as they said they would. 

If found housing an American, the Germans had no trouble in meting out quick retribution. Yet these Serbians saw no issue in showing hospitality to those whom they considered their Allies (even though Allies would soon not return kindness for kindness).

This Serbian hospitality toward Americans (obviously things got nasty later on with their own countrymen) knew no bounds. Today if we're running low on food or funds or time to clean, we Americans won't open our doors. I like hospitality that costs me very little, but I was challenged with the scope of my hospitality. Sometimes it costs. Sometimes it sets us back financially. But I wonder if biblical hospitality looks more Serbian than Suburbian? 

I wouldn't host anyone who could get me killed, and yet that is exactly the kind of hospitality received by many in my Grandfather's generation. Busyness, or the fact that we had a hard week or season of life can often preclude us from opening our homes nowadays. We've come a long way, but I think a long way in the wrong direction.

We don't usually host based upon others needs, but instead invite others who can "bring something to the table" (metaphorically speaking). I was amazed and convicted by these Serbians and their gospel centered hospitality. These Serbs can still teach us a thing or two, pointing us toward the hospitable One, who gave up the comfort of heavens in order to invite us to His home.


D Ridenhour said...

We like garage doors in our lives, because we can put the garage door down and shut out our neighbor. And that is about all I can write, because I am guilty of NOT doing any other platitude that I might write as a hearty amen to this post. Thanks for challenging me.

Geoffsnook said...


Hey brother! I need to grow in hospitality, as I've been challenged by my neighbors lately. And when I'm hospitable, its often at no cost to myself. Cost usually negates my hospitality.

But in addition to this being a challenge, I also found it a cool story to see folks actually risk their lives to be hospitable. There is hope for me and all of us to grow in this area!