The secret to great hospitality

The Secret to Great Hospitality

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This post is part of the series Hospitality

Other posts in this series:

  1. The Secret to Great Hospitality (Current)
  2. Hospitality: Adjusting our attitude
  3. Hospitality: Healing, changing, and setting boundaries

What do you think of when you hear the word hospitality?

Perhaps you recall a pleasant memory of a particularly fond visit with a family member or friend who seemed to have a special gift for making guests feel welcome and comfortable. Maybe you get excited and start envisioning the next event you will be hosting.

On the other hand, perhaps the word hospitality conjures up feelings of disappointment as you recall times you tried to entertain but felt like it went wrong. Or maybe you want to invite family and friends over, but your life is so hectic and your house a total disaster — you’d feel ashamed if anyone saw it.

Perhaps you feel dread at the thought of visitors dropping by unannounced or on short notice. Maybe you are afraid that your current living space is not adequately suited to host any visitors: it is too small, too old, too disorganized, etc.

We live in a digital age where social media bombards us with a perfectly curated series of photographs portraying unrealistic home lives of our family, friends, and celebrities. Glossy magazines in the checkout lines boast headlines like “52 ways to decorate for your next party” and are filled with scenes of dinner place settings that cost a fortune and were professionally designed by people who specialize in decorating.

We obsessively scroll Pinterest to learn how to decorate like a pro, watch cooking videos for meals to prepare just to impress, and follow organizational blogs for tips on how to tame our daily clutter. I admit… I do this. 

But what if I told you that the secret to hospitality has nothing to do with your ability to keep a spotless magazine-cover home, buy fancy decor, or cook gourmet meals? It has nothing to do with centerpieces or throw pillows or fancy hors d’oeuvre. It has nothing to do with a big, grassy yard with a top-of-the-line grill for summer BBQs or a huge home with a spacious open floor plan.

The secret to hospitality is attitude.

No, seriously. It is all about our attitude, our heart, our mindset.

The secret to hospitality has nothing to do with having a spotless home, fancy decor, or gourmet meals. It is all about our attitude, our heart, our mindset. Click To Tweet

According to Dictionary.com, hospitality is defined as “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers” and “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.”

Great hospitality is all about the attitude with which we receive and treat our guests. A warm and friendly attitude is much more important to being a hospitable host than the location, the tidiness of it, the material things present, the amount of money spent on the occasion, and even the food shared.

Being warm and friendly, even to those who may stop by with little or no warning, costs us nothing out of pocket and it is what the Lord expects of His people.

God’s Word reminds us: “…don’t forget doing good and sharing with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16, CJB)

And in Romans 12:13, we are encouraged: “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” (NLT)

Sure, I completely understand how it could be challenging to be hospitable when you are overworked, exhausted, very busy, or emotionally worn out. I get it. I’m a mom of two little boys both under the age of three, I work full time outside the home, we recently moved, and we have gone through some very challenging months recently — both financially and emotionally. Sometimes you are just plum worn out, burned out, or even sick.

But we don’t have to let our inadequacies or fears or life circumstances get in the way of being warm, friendly, generous, and inviting to family, friends, and guests.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some practical tips and Biblical inspiration for those of us who are busy with life, worry about not being ready for guests, or feel we are lacking in the hospitality department.

May the Lord bless you with a home filled with joy, love, and laughter.

Application

  1. In a journal, write down all of the reasons hospitality in general or having surprise guests show up make you anxious or uncomfortable.
  2. Read Ephesians 2:10 and Galatians 5:14. What do these verses say about our attitude and how we should relate to others?
  3. Write “The secret to hospitality is attitude” down on a sticky note or in your journal, somewhere you can see it for the next week, and each day remind yourself.

Join the discussion

I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. In the comments below, share your hospitality triumphs and failures, your excitement and anxiety.

Next time

Join us next time as we continue our brand new Hospitality series. We will be tackling the tricky topic of adjusting our attitude to embrace the spirit of hospitality… even if you are not an out-going person, hosting makes you nervous, or hospitality is not one of your spiritual gifts!

The secret to great hospitality

Continue reading this series:


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6 Replies to “The Secret to Great Hospitality”

  1. Thank you for your thoughts on hospitality. In our modern age, I can always use a reminder that I should be looking at the people around me instead of at my phone screen. It is also good to be reminded that the house doesn’t have to look perfect 🙂

    1. I am glad you liked this post! I struggle with the “house has to look perfect” myth myself. Even if I (really “we” as my husband does a lot of the cleaning) do manage to somehow get the house clean and tidy before visitors, I find myself apologizing profusely for “the mess”. So I have to remind myself that almost everyone has “lived in” homes and would understand a little clutter or mess here and there, especially in a home with two little ones and toys! 😉

  2. I STRUGGLE with Hospitality in the sense I have to have everything clean and perfect. Hospitality actually makes me feel Inadequate when I compare myself to others beautifully set tables and what not. Slowly over the years I’ve adapted the mindset it’s my hearts attitude of serving more than it is the presentation! Thank you for this post!

    1. I’m glad you found this post a blessing, Heather! I, too, have struggled with the need for perfection. Realizing that genuine hospitality is about my attitude and motivation — particularly asking myself: am I doing {this} for selfish reasons or to bless and serve others? — has been liberating.

      May the Lord continue to bless you and your ministry!

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