Becoming Hospitable: WEEK 3

Dinner time…. it comes every day and sometimes it still catches me off guard!  Maybe it has been a really busy day or maybe it is just because I have a lack of planning when it comes to meals.  Either way, I find myself scrounging in the cupboards looking for something to make!  As much as I would love to be a consistent meal planner, so often I am not and instead I rely on what is in my pantry to give me an idea!

When it comes to hosting people in our homes, it is a wise idea to not let dinner take us off guard!

Now that we have come full circle, learning that our homes do not have to be perfect in order to be hospitable and that God wants us to be hospitable to more than just those within our close circle of friends and family, where do we go from here?

I simply want to share with you a game plan so the next time we sense the Holy Spirit prompting us to open our door and welcome in new people, we will not be tempted to say no!

First, make an attempt to keep the house somewhat picked up and clean on a regular basis Okay, don’t panic!  I have a two year old in my house, I know a tidy home is not always possible!  I have had unplanned company arrive at my doorstep and they have seen the toys on the floor, the counter tops covered in crumbs from lunch time, and dust on my bookshelf!  However, I have found that if I try to keep my home clean on a regular basis, it won’t be quite so overwhelming when company is coming!  I won’t feel like I have to clean the entire house top to bottom and run a white glove over my surfaces.  When company is coming, a light cleaning does the trick and if I don’t get to those dusty surfaces, it’s really going to be okay!  Dust is just a part of life.

Second, plan a meal you have already made previously and know is delicious and even family friendly.  The night company comes is not the night to try a new dinner or Exterior shot of an open Wooden Front Doordessert idea you found on Pinterest!  Cobblers and I do not go together well.  I remember one evening as a young bride I tried my hand at a peach cobbler to serve for dessert with my in-laws.  Something went very very wrong with that cobbler.  It looked so pretty, and I served it to my new husband and his parents and as I sat down and stuck my fork into my own helping, oh it was awful! It was worse than awful, it was downright horrible!  My charming husband gracefully took bite after bite in an effort to spare my feelings, and my in-laws were so very gracious.  Not one unkind comment was made, but I was mortified!  My beautiful cobbler tasted like glue!  I quickly learned my lesson!  When having company, stick with a tried and true recipe that you know how to fix.  It will spare much potential embarrassment!

Third, simply enjoy your company. We shouldn’t be more consumed with having a perfect home and a five star meal than we are sharing God’s love with those around our table.  Let the cares of the day fall to the floor and ask God to use you to minister to those in your home.  Life can be tough sometimes, our days can be stressful, our schedules tight, but taking the time to enjoy the company of others is often so needed.  We need each each others encouragement and fellowship and if we overwhelm ourselves with things that don’t really matter much anyway, we will miss out on wonderful blessing of getting to know others!

As we wrap up this series, let’s make a commitment to become more hospitable to others.  The next time the opportunity presents itself to be hospitable, let’s accept it with open arms!  Let’s not stress out about the condition of our home, let’s step outside of our comfort zones, and enjoy the fellowship!

Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

God has blessed us with so much, let’s seek to be a blessing to others!

Many Blessings,

Wendy

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Becoming Hospitable: Week 2

We were newly married and living in a shoe box of a home and we got this hair-brained idea to entertain!  One of the first people {aside from family} we entertained in our home was a missionary couple.  My husband and I had only been married a few short months but we were excited {and slightly terrified!}!  My husband had known this couple from before we had even met, but I had not yet met them.  I was a shy, nervous, bride but I really wanted to be hospitable!  I can count on one finger the amount of times we had people in our home growing up.  It just was not something my family did, however my husband had grown up in a home that was the complete opposite!  His parents had people in their home frequently.

I do not even remember what it was I had fixed for dinner, but I remember fixing a mousse for dessert because this couple were missionaries to France and mousse sounded so French.  My mind ran wild before they arrived with thoughts of, what was I going to say?  What if I burned the meal?  Praise the Lord things went off without a hitch and the mousse was absolutely luscious!

In the previous post we mentioned how we often put pressure on ourselves to have a perfect home before we welcome others in, but we learned that an inviting home has more to do with our attitude than it does our clean floors and counter tops.

So now that we have taken the pressure off of ourselves to have everything perfect before becoming hospitable, what do we do?  Well, I am so glad you asked!

The second step is, being hospitable does not just mean we open our homes to only those we know.  Though having family and friends over is wonderful and enjoyable and is something we often love doing, the essence of hospitality does not end with having only friends and family gather.  It also means to entertain those we may not know very well or even at all!

This can seem so intimidating right?  Having people in our home that we do not know can seem a bit frightening even!  Friends, can I be honest and share with you, I am as shy as shy can be!  One of the scariest things for me is walking up to complete strangers {such as new visitors to our church} and putting myself out there in an attempt to make them feel welcome.  I like my back row in the church and I would sit there quietly without disturbing a soul thank.you.very.much.  Isn’t it funny that my comfort zone is completely opposite of what God has called me as a Christian and also Pastors wife to do?  Walking up to the newcomers and making conversation, being warm and welcoming.  The more I do it though, the easier it has become.  I have found I care more about making people who enter our church doors to feel welcomed and loved than I do about my own comfort zone.

The same can be said about opening up our homes to those we may not know well.  The more we do it, the better we become at it and the more we will find ourselves wanting to be hospitable!

My mother in-law is amazing at this.  She and my father in-law have had countless people through their home and they love having them in!  My mother in-law makes everyone feel right at home and is quite possibly the most hospitable person I know!  A guest speaker comes to town? She has them in for dinner!  A traveling college ensemble?  They are bunking in her spare rooms or on the living room floor!  Everyone from family to complete strangers have sat at her dining table and she welcomes each one with open arms.  I want hospitalityto be just like that!

When we choose to stay within our comfort zones and only entertain people we are comfortable with, we can miss out on tremendous blessings!  Hebrews 13:2 states, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” 

God desires for His children to be hospitable.  He blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.  Let’s see what Romans 12:9-13, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”  

The best way to become hospitable is to simply take the first step!  Invite someone in!  Remember, our homes do not have to be perfect, we just need to be welcoming!

Maybe you are like me, you are shy or more introverted, and the thought of having strangers in your home terrifies you as it did me the first several times we had people in our home!  I want to let you in on a little secret I have that will help.  Before we have anyone in our home, I pray!  I ask the Lord to help the conversation to flow smoothly and help us to think of things to converse about!  It may seem silly, but sometimes I just have no idea what to say to people!  Praying has helped tremendously!

We have learned that our home does not have to be perfect to be inviting and we have also seen that God wants us to be hospitable to more than just our family and friends.  To come out of our comfort zones in order to be a blessing to others.

Join me in the coming days as we learn to practically apply the two steps we have learned.

Be encouraged!

Wendy

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Becoming Hospitable: WEEK 1

Friends, I have a confession.  I love HGTV. No way, you do too?!  Thank goodness I am not alone!  I have a particular interest in interior design, though it is something I still have much to learn about!  Beautifully decorated homes, especially those decked out for the holidays, makes me swoon!  There is just something about those twinkly lights, the garland, the red cranberries, oh man, it gets me every time!  Makes me feel so warm and cozy like I could curl up next to an inviting fire, which of course has a perfectly decorated mantel above it and drink hot cocoa while reading a book.  So picturesque, isn’t it?
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Then I have a reality check and I look across my house….. which is terribly far from perfect.  Please, no pictures!  My house on any given day and at any given moment, can resemble that of the aftermath of a tornado, or even a hurricane depending on if my toddler is using a “big girl” cup, i.e. a cup without a lid.  Now, this is not because I loathe cleaning, because as crazy as it may sound, I actually love to clean my house!  I am so weird, I know!  However, I do live in my home, as do my husband and three precious children, therefore it is never ever perfect, except for the hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

With that being said, sometimes the thought of opening my home up to guests makes me feel a bit antsy.  I mean, I love to have people in my home, we love having company, but then there is that perfectionist side of me that wants to make sure every.single.thing. is perfectly in it’s place {and clean!} before I open my door to others.  When I feel that way though, I am wrong.  There is nothing wrong with wanting a clean home, but putting the pressure of “perfect” on myself and my family before we are willing to serve others and welcome them in, that is wrong because I have forgotten what hospitality really is all about.

Being hospitable is not about me, or my house, or the crumbs under my table.  It is an attitude of our heart, wanting to serve and invite others into the home God has blessed us with.  It is about welcoming people in, making them feel at home, and sharing with them the grace and love God has lavished on us.  Do any of us really feel at home in a picture perfect setting?  Oh heavens, I do not!  Especially since I have a toddler!  When we walk into a beautiful, picturesque place my instant thought is, hang onto the baby and to the little boy as well!  My imagination runs wild over what could potentially happen!

Making people feel at home means they see we are just people, living our lives like they do, and if a glass of milk spills across the table or crumbs find their way to the floor, it really is alright.  We will clean it up and keep going because life and crumbs, well, they just happen!  We have to keep the right perspective on what is more important.  Making our guests feel comfortable in our home breaks down barriers as we break bread and have sweet fellowship across the table.

The first thing I would love to share with you about becoming more hospitable is this, our home does not have to be perfect to be inviting.  1 Peter 4:9 states, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”  Two thoughts come to my mind about this verse.  First, is that God does not say “if you feel like being hospitable”, no He just jumps right in and says “Use hospitality”, which makes me believe that He wants us to be hospitable.  Second, the words “without grudging” in this verse could also be stated without complaining!  Opening our door to others should be done because we love the Lord and we love people!  It should not be something we dread doing, especially because of the pressure we put on ourselves to get the house perfectly tidy.  Our home will be inviting if our attitude is inviting.

God wants us to be hospitable people.  He wants us to share generously what He has entrusted us with.  A home to live in, a table to eat at, warm food to share, and time to be invested in others and eternity.  The house does not have to be perfect for us to be hospitable.  We are the ones that make our home inviting, not the cleanliness of our floors and counter tops.

Join me next week as we talk about who we should be hospitable to!

Be encouraged!

Wendy

I always love to hear from my readers!  What have you learned about becoming hospitable?

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