“Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
Recently I was doing my Bible study and several scriptures on hospitality popped up. They were like a slap to my face as hospitality is something I have neglected greatly in the nearly four years since we moved here to South Carolina.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling”
~I Peter 4:9~
It wasn’t intentional, but began with the attitude that we didn’t know anyone. Next it was because our house isn’t as put together as I would like. I’ve even used the excuse that no one else is having us over, so why should we open our home…. And now it’s just because we are so out of practice the desire to entertain has just slipped away.
It’s not that we haven’t had friends over in the time we’ve been here, but what was once several times a month has dwindled to maybe once every other month. The truth of it all is, I truly miss opening our home to friends for a hot meal, great conversation, or a good game of cards.
No matter how old-fashioned or taboo it has become, opening your home for guests is such a wonderful way to share love and show others how much you truly care for them. Audley and I have talked a lot about our lack of having people over and decided there was no better time than now to change this aspect of our lives.
There are so many reasons why we should entertain (beginning with the words God himself spoke to inspired writers), but here are some of the reasons we entertain and why you should practice hospitality as well:
1. Opening your home to guest creates a casual environment that is so much more conducive for communication and getting to know one another on a deeper, more personal level. You have experienced it over and over, the chaos of restaurants. They are loud, full of interruptions, and a far cry from an intimate environment of your home. Dining out also gets very expensive, especially if you have kids that are accompanying you. Opening your home takes away much of the chaos we have in public settings and creates a casual, welcoming atmosphere we all desire.
2. My kids can entertain your kids. We all live in a super busy world that for many of us are controlled by our kids. Basketball on Monday, lacrosse on Thursday, wrestling on Saturday, youth group on Wednesday…. It goes on and on. Not only do adults need a break from the kids, they also need a break from us! When you open you home to others it creates a perfect atmosphere for kids, no matter their age, to let their guard down, be themselves and learn to socialize outside of school and sports.
3. Opening your home helps foster relationships you might not have made otherwise. It’s easy to have the same circle of friends over, but when you broaden you invitations you will make associations you would have never imagined. Audley and I have recently agreed to host a small group on Sunday evenings as a part of our Church’s Life Group program. By doing this we have met several fabulous couples and families of ALL ages that otherwise we still would not have met in our large congregation. It has been such a blessing for us as we share and study together each week.
4. You are setting an example for your children. Our children need to see the joy and fun that comes with being hospitable. They need to know not everything will be picture perfect, but you can still open the doors to others and share a wonderful evening laughing, talking, sometimes crying and leaving the world outside.
5. You set the tone for the evening. Hospitality doesn’t always have to be a five-course supper. It can be simple quiches from the freezer with other finger foods or even pizza from the local pizzeria. Sit a table if you desire or use paper plates for your munchies while you tackle a friendly game of cards. Opening your home can be something you planned weeks in advance or a spontaneous action because you got off work early on Friday night. Believe me, no one will remember how fancy or how casual the time spent in your home was, but they will remember how you made them feel!
6. Showing hospitality is a wonderful way to create community. We live in a culture where taking care of self is more important than looking out for those around us. Opening our homes lets us show compassion, love, service, and genuine interest in those who surround us and take the focus off of ourselves! And let’s be honest, doesn’t the world need more of this?!
Last weekend Audley and I hosted four couples for a movie and dinner “date night”. These four couples were a part of the marriage class we just finished teaching at church and we felt this would be a great way to end our time as teachers. Of course not everyone from the class was able to attend, but with the small number who did we chose to go all out to set the mood for our “date night”. We truly were blessed by the evening as it gave us the opportunity to get to know these four couples to a greater depth with our fun and laid back conversations as we are all in different stages of our marriages and lives.
This wonderful evening was a great reminder to what we have been missing and we are already planning our next dinner party!
When was the last time you opened your home “just because” and not out of obligation? I would love to hear your input.