Boiled Down Hospitality

 

Your company is arriving in one hour.  The kids just pulled out all the toys you spent 30 minutes putting away.  The family room is now a wreck (for the third time that day).  Your meal isn’t turning out the way you hoped.  You are asking yourself why, oh why did you decide to entertain at all.  The stress is building, your patience with the children is running low and then your well-intentioned husband asks to invite someone else.  Please can someone just call for pizza?

 

Have you been there?  It is in those last moments before company comes over that I can feel like the biggest home-making failure.  I’m concerned about my house looking neat and clean.  I would like to serve food that is not only edible, but delicious.  And I want to come across as the girl who has it all together. 

 

Then the doorbell rings.  And that is when everything that just happened in those last 59 minutes flies out the door.  I can greet my guests with a smile.  I’m excited they are here.  I’m interested in their lives, their joys, their challenges.  I’m looking forward to connecting over a half-decent meal and the mess that will most definitely ensue when all the kids enjoy playing together. 

 

You see, while it is wonderful to serve amazing food, run everything on time and have your house be perfectly clean, when you boil it down, hospitality is about people.

 

The best hospitality focuses on the guests you invited into your home.  It is about making them feel welcome, comfortable and valued.  How easy it is to get wrapped up in the mechanics of entertaining and lose focus on the heart and reason of why you are doing this at all.

 

 

Take a look at Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.
    

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,”the Lord answered,“you are worriedand upset about many things,42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha incorrectly maintained a focus on the busy preparations, even after her company had arrived.  Mary had chosen to focus on Jesus.  And while a meal still has to be cooked and a house prepared, how would our outlook change if we remind ourselves that genuine hospitality maintains a focus on people and not all the distractions that may arise? 

 

What would happen if we prayed before we entertained?  What if we went into the afternoon or evening looking for ways to give God glory and engage Him into the conversations?  What if when hearing about any struggles your guests were facing, before your time was over, you prayed with them?  How would your focus on hospitality change?

 

Reminders for Hospitable Hearts:
  • Keep it simple. If you regularly try to overdo it and you end up stressed out, try keeping it simple and enjoyable.
  • Pray before your guests arrive asking the Lord to give you a heart focused on people. 
  • Don’t stress when something goes wrong.  Inevitably, it will.  Give yourself grace.

So the next time you’re standing over the hot stove, feeling a little too warm (and wondering if you need to go put on something cooler), remember boiled down hospitality is all about the people. 

Enjoy!

 

* Don’t miss out on tomorrow’s post where Melissa from Hive Resources will be talking about the connection between hospitality and faith.  And, if you’d like to see the Hospitable Hearts series at a glance, go here.

Comments

  1. The moments I make hospitality about things (my table settings, the mess, the meal) are the moments that I am stressed and overwhelmed in opening my home! Thank you for this much-needed reminder to make opening my home about opening my heart to others. Hospitality is about people – not things!

  2. I just found your blog on Titus 2 Tuesdays and am a new follower.

    I appreciate this post on hospitality because I am such a Martha. I LONG to be a Mary! For me entertaining is about making sure I don’t look stupid or that people see how “with it” I am when I need to remember people are there because they love me, not because they want to see me trip up and make mistakes. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Blessings to you,
    Keri
    Growing in His Glory

  3. Great reminder about the real reason for hospitality. I used to get really worked up when company came and thought this was one gift I certainly wasn’t given but now I try to remember to enjoy the people. Lovely blog. coming over form SDG and glad I did. Welcome to that community. it is a great one to be a part of!

  4. Great post! I actually no longer do a huge cleaning job right before company comes. Instead, I strive to keep the house clean on a regular basis. That way, all I have to do when company comes is put things away and maybe run my sweeper vac over our hardwood floors. So easy!

    And meals? I no longer strive for fancy. In fact, if you’re a first time guest at my house, you’ll probably be served spaghetti, a salad, and garlic bread. Simple, but delicious and filling.

    • Alana, you are my inspiration! One of my goals for the year is to establish a cleaning routine so I can stop killing myself cleaning before company comes over. If you have a plan you’ve posted, please come back and share the link with us.

  5. This post was very encouraging – I definitely get lost in the details of making the experience something worthwhile and I can quickly lose the focus of why I am having guests over to begin with!

    Thank you for reminding us all of Jesus’ words to Martha.

    I will definitely remember to pray for our guests and with our guests. That is so important! Wonderful post!

    • Thanks for leaving a comment, Taylor. It is so easy to get lost in details. Praying for us all that we’ll have hospitable hearts focused on what is important.

  6. I found your blog through the Tuesday Time Out link party, and I can so relate to this post on hospitality! I’ve really enjoyed checking out some of your older posts this morning too … excited to read more! 😉

    Your Newest Follower,
    Brenda @ChattingOverChocolate.blogspot.com
    (…would love for you to stop by and say “hello” sometime! ;))

    Have a fabulous day!
    “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” – Psalm 118:24

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the wonderful encouraging words on Hospitality! I love to have “guests”/friends over to the home but have a tendancy to get wrapped up in the “enterainment” instead of the Hospitality. I am planning on having friends over for dinner and these simple steps I’m going to implement.
    I love this series!
    Julie

    • Julie, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series. Praying you’ll have a blessed and meaningful time with your friends. Thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂

  8. I am pretty upset about this series. I am perfectly happy with my anti-hospitality excuses, and you seem to be saying they aren’t good enough. Please be more considerate in your posts, and keep in mind that truth may actually impact people like me into having to CHANGE our hearts and minds–and truly serve other people.

    • LOL Emily! If I didn’t know you, I’d think you could actually be upset. You gave me a good laugh. And yeah, sorry…no more excuses. 😉

  9. Welcome to the SDG Sisterhood! I love what you said about praying to be “people focused” before your guests come over. I am going to suggest this to the hubby tonight for next time.

  10. Hi there-just call me Martha…ok, an attempting to be different Martha. Hospitality has just never been one of my strengths. While I getting together with others, inevitably I wonder what I was thinking, it would just be easier to not do the hospitality thing.

    Thanks for the fresh perspective. 🙂

    • Hi Kim, I hear ya! It is the challenge of changing our mindset of why we are doing it. If I can focus on relationships, it makes such a difference. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  11. I especially like the tip to pray before guests arrive – that will set a good tone and put my heart in the right place. Thank you!

  12. Great encouragement Kristen! I too struggle with the down-to-the-wire panic, but somehow still find the ability to enjoy the guests when they walk in the door. It is as though in that moment everything that just happened beforehand never happened at all. (However, what I most need to work on is how I treat my sweet husband and little boys in those last few moments when I am going crazy! After all, hospitality must begin with them right?)

  13. I have been a terrible SDG hostess this week. But, I am glad that I got to circle back and come visit you. FIrst, welcome to the SDG sisterhood. Second, as an introvert, I can get very consumed by my house looking neat and clean and forget about the people (because of the energy it takes for me to talk with them, etc). But, I can get beyond that with the help of Jesus — who was always about the people!

  14. I like it when folks come together and share ideas.

    Great blog, keep it up!

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