What exactly is hospitality? Here’s my simple definition – Giving generously to meet the needs of another person. That could include a meal, a place to sleep, a cup of coffee, a listening ear. We must be sensitive to realize the needs of others and do what we can, (by God’s enabling) to meet them.
People are just not into having people over any more! We’re all too busy to take the time, too worried that our house isn’t clean enough, or that we just won’t measure up on some way, shape or form. We wonder how in the world we can fit one more thing into our schedule. Here’s what Martha Peace said in her book,
“So where do we find the time to follow Mary to the feet of Jesus? Where do we find the energy to serve him?…Because we are his children, Kitchen service will be the natural result of Living Room intimacy with God. Like Jesus, we must be about our Father’s business. The closer we draw to the heart of the Father, the more we see his heart for the world. And so we serve, we minister and we love, knowing that when we do it to ‘the least of these,’ we have done it unto Christ.”- (Having a Mary Heart…pg. 10)
It’s after we’ve had the quiet time with the Lord that we desire to serve Him. We don’t desire to just stay in the living room – we want to look for others whom we could serve.
We are out to bless – not impress! Perhaps this one thought is the most important. Lay aside all the expectations of the Food Network and Martha Stewart and just set out to be a blessing and you are sure to accomplish that goal!
Let me share with you a few ideas to reduce the stress of being hospitable.
1. Do as much as you can as far ahead as you can. This one principle will give you more peace than you can imagine!
- Set the table
- Set out serving dishes
- Prepare coffee pot
- Make any dish ahead of time that you can
- Slice vegetables for salads
2. Bake dessert – freeze
- Cookie dough in rolls
- Cookie dough in balls – freeze on cookie sheet, then place them in a ziplock bag
- Cake layers
- Uniced cupcakes
3. Bake breads – freeze
- Crescent rolls
- Sweet breads
4. Make casserole and freeze
5. Mix up salads (without dressing)
- 7-Layer Salad
- Fruit salad with citrus added to keep fruit from browning
- Frozen fruit salads
6. Keep some sweets in the freezer and keep boxes of snack foods like crackers in your pantry.
- Angel food cake
- Pudding mixes
- Pound cake
- Canned pie filling
7. Use your crock pot. Putting a meal in the crock pot will ease your schedule and allow you to do other things all day while dinner is cooking!
- Put a turkey breast in the crock pot with Onion soup mix and a little water. Cook on high 1 hour and low for 7 hours.
8. Communicate – Talk to the Lord about your plans. Ask Him who you should invite over. Talk to your family. Talk to your guests. Do they have food allergies or restrictions?
9. Fifteen minutes before your guests arrive, sit down with a cup of coffee and rest! Pray and ask the Lord to help you be a blessing to your guests and demonstrate the heart of hospitality – To bless them, not impress them!
10. Turn on some soft music and light candles before guests arrive. Dimming the lights will make it cozy and hide any dust!
To whom would the Lord have you show hospitality? Consider:
1. Strangers – – Heb. 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares
- new church attenders
- new neighbors.
2. Fellow Chrisitans – Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
• Sunday school teacher/students
• Youth pastor
• Sunday school class members
3. Unsaved – Phil 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
• Child’s teacher at school
• Visitor at church
4. The Weary – II Timothy 1:16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain
• Friend –Needs encouragement – New illness, stress, marriage problem, homeschooling mom…
• Missionary, Christian worker
I pray this will encourage you to be on the lookout for someone the Lord would lay on your heart. Be like Onesiphorus…Paul said, “He oft refreshed me.”!