Homemaking and Hospitality: How to Glorify God in it All
What comes to mind when you think of the word hospitality? Do you picture family & friends sitting around a table eating and exchanging stories and laughter in the comfort of your home?
Hospitality does include these wonderful moments, but there is so much more than being a good host/hostess at a dinner party.
Today we have many means of communication that we are becoming more reliant upon. We use services such as social media, emails, or our phones in lieu of a sit down heart-to-heart conversation. While I am very grateful for technology and its many benefits, I think true hospitality is the best way of really getting to know someone.
I am an introvert. The thought of meeting strangers or inviting/going to each other’s homes used to send a dozen butterflies to my stomach. I sometimes catch a few of them butterflies now and then, but it’s nothing like it used to be. I was content just staying at home and working in the garden, mowing grass and cooking in my kitchen rather than going to unfamiliar settings and meeting new people. Most conversations I’d have with people would be very challenging especially when trying to find the right words to say. I knew there had to be a change if I ever wanted to enjoy the hospitality like it mentions in the bible. Thankfully, after much praying and reading, God has really helped me to grow and overcome this battle. I am still a work in progress but that just means I need my savior all the more.
In this article I’m going to be sharing with you the importance of biblical hospitality. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, these steps can really help you to open your home to others through glorifying to the Lord and welcoming to those who enter.
Step #1 What is Hospitality?
-In Greek, the word for hospitality is Philoxenia, which means “showing brotherly love (phileo) to strangers (xenia).”
-Hospitality is in a way being able to see Christ in others.
-Biblical Hospitality is mentioned throughout the entire bible. Today’s way of hospitality is so much different than the culture we read about in the bible. Today, you can travel between continents and find fast food chains, rest areas with vending machines, hotels, etc to stop at to rest and get replenished. This wasn’t the case in the biblical era.
-How important is it? God commands it. Here are two of my favorite passages of this commandment written in the bible. Throughout the Bible, God commands us over and over to take notice of and care for those are around us.
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.” Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”
– Hebrews 13:1-3
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? “Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever. Amen”
– 1 Peter 4: 8-11
Step #2 Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed: Start Slow
As an introvert, I truly enjoy alone time with my husband. The idea of having dozens of people over or attending an event with hundreds and thousands of people makes me feel very overwhelmed. I often compare it to feeling like a pressure cooker…too much pressure and about to explode. Extroverts on the other hand may have to clean their house and make food preparations more often, but they find ways to work with this because they enjoy this time with other people. Hospitality can seem overwhelming to either person but God clearly commands us to practice hospitality in 1 Peter 4:9. So, whichever personality type you may fall under start by doing what you can and take it one step at a time.
Start by reaching out to one or two people and strike up a conversation. For example, Jason and I enjoy talking with people in our church on Sundays. We don’t try to talk to or make friends with everyone we see, we just start talking with those we are getting to know. We start slow and see if it’s only going to be small talk, if so that’s ok because we may have blessed someone who was lonely. You just never know when you might really have something in common with another stranger. Keep it simple and keep in mind that hospitality isn’t just for the “people person” it’s also for those who have trouble socializing as well.
Step #3 Keep it Simple: It Doesn’t Have to Cost A Lot
When you invite family & friends over just keep it simple. Many people worry about going all out and making it so elaborate that they lose focus of the main idea of hospitality. A simple pizza, burgers or hotdogs on the grill and some finger foods such as fruits or chips will satisfy most people. We are not obligated to make fancy dinners or go all out for hospitality. You can easily go overboard and before you know it you are spending a lot of money and can come off to your guests as prideful and even arrogant, (which will probably make them feel uncomfortable). That’s not the idea and heart behind hospitality at all.
Step #4 Give Yourself Plenty of Time
If you are planning a dinner for your guests, give yourself plenty of time to prepare. This will avoid all the rushing and last minute stress. Keeping in mind step #3 can help you with this. However, if you do want to make a nice dinner just do recipes you are familiar with, and avoid trying to make that new pinterest recipe you saw… Pinterest fails exist for a reason. If you are planning to make a more formal dinner, give yourself plenty time to prepare just in case anything goes wrong or guests arrive early. I always try to be ready to have someone over in our home. You never know when an emergency may come up or someone may be having a very trying day and just need to talk to someone or a place to stay.
Step #5 Add Some Simple Touches
Welcoming someone in your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just adding a few little touches can make a person feel welcomed in your home. I have found that asking your guests if they have any allergies or what their favorite foods are before the day they come to visit can make them feel more welcomed. Making foods they like or avoiding the foods that could be harmful to them really helps! Also, adding some small touches that aren’t expensive show that you appreciate them spending time with you. Having some candles burning or an oil diffuser running can add a relaxing scent to your home. Put out some fresh picked flowers if you have access to flowers or a garden and if they have a favorite game, set up a game table after dinner is over. Never underestimate the power offering a cup of something hot like tea or coffee. One of my favorite childhood memories was hearing my grandma saying, “Do you want some coffee or tea, and what would you like in it?” whenever their friends or family would come to visit.
Finally, Step #6 Remember its not about the looks of the home, its about your heart.
Hospitality is all about making people feel welcome in your home even if it isn’t camera ready. Your goal is to represent the love that our savior has to offer. It’s about making people feel invited and welcomed in your home. When Jason and I first started welcoming friends and family into our home we questioned our furniture since it wasn’t brand new and we were worried about the carpet and its few missing patches (thanks Maverick!) But we knew we wanted to open our home up to others that we saw God putting in our paths for a reason. Since we’ve turned our focus over to the Lord and the people he puts in our life, hospitality has become a blessing to us. It’s not about having fancy décor, or maxing out your credit card to have the perfect pieces that you fear you will get a stain on. It’s not about the fancy meals and dessert. The laughter, comfort, fellowship, encouragement and good memories are much more precious and good for the Spirit.
There isn’t a lot of information on biblical hospitality. The best place to find more information is to read and study God’s word to help guide you on the “do’s” and the “don’ts”. I know it’s becoming a bit more rare in our culture but for those who still practice hospitality keep pressing forward. With all the technology these days it so simple to just sit in front of a TV, computer screen or a phone and use only that as entertainment or a way of communicate with others. For some, the only way to connect is using technology and that’s fine. However when it’s possible, long conversations on the back porch or in the park with some sweet tea or lemonade can’t be beat. As convenient as technology is, we can get too caught up in watching a screen rather than a sunset with a friend. Keep focusing on those who need an encouraging friend or family member and show the love that God has to offer us all by opening your heart and home to those who need you.