Tuesday, January 13, 2009

At the Heart of Hospitality: A Gift

Hospitality is not only a gift I
have but a gift I give. Be passionate about it!
~ Sandy Coughlin

Hospitality is something I do have a passion for.

"Essential to hospitality is opening our hearts and our homes. We each have a home – be it a small home, mid-sized home, or a mansion! And no matter what the size of our table or what food is served, bonding around that table and enjoying a meal makes people feel loved." ~ Sandy Coughlin.

I have a home. I have a table. I have food. I have a family who enjoys other people. So, why am I not opening that home to others more often? Is it because I'm lazy? Is it because I'm selfish? Is it because I'm a procrastinating perfectionist? It's all of these.

Sandy talks about entertaining versus being hospitable on her blog 4 Reluctant Entertainers. Her first commandment is "Hospitality is a Gift." I can make my home a gift to others by inviting people in. It's that easy. I don't need to impress them, I need to love and serve them.

Here's a way I can check my attitude as I host people in my home:

1. Am I feeling stressed or burdened by the need to impress?
2. Am I putting my guests first (i.e. not the dirty dishes in the sink after the meal)?
3. Am I expecting something in return?

Sandy says it best:
Entertaining too often says, “I want to impress you with my creative new recipes and the latest decorating fad and my perfectly decked-out house.” It can show that, “this is mine and this is a reflection of who I am and what I am. Admire me!” Hospitality, in turn, says, “This home is truly a gift and it may not be perfect, but come on in while I serve you and our family loves on you.” It says, “What is ours is yours. What is said around the table stays around the table.”

Lord Jesus ~
I ask you to enable us to offer our home as a gift. Please help others to know that they are welcome in our homes and at our tables. I ask, dear Jesus, that you stop the excuses that plague us and open our hearts and minds to serving and loving others in our homes. Help us to share openly and without excuse the blessings that You have given our families. I pray that lives will be changed as we visit around the table or over a cup of coffee. Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift that hospitality can be when we allow You to guide us in loving others.
~ Amen.

I'm going to challenge myself to invite people over for a meal once a week for 6 weeks. Can you challenge yourself to do the same?

Week 1
guests: hubby's family
food: turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pie (guests bringing side dishes and bread)

Week 2
guests: hubby's brother
food: pizza delivery, fresh veggies and dip - no one said it had to be homemade, just opening up your home ;)

Week 3
guests: growth group
food: Cincinnati chili, relish tray, Triple Chocolate Sour Cream Brownie Bites

Week 4
guests: brought ingredients to a friend's house in Arkansas
food: baked pasta and garlic bread

Week 5
guests: growth group
food: hobo dinners, homemade bread, homemade applesauce, store-bought pie

Week 6 - 81st Academy Awards Party
guests: friends
food: layered taco dip, Chex and the City Mix,

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