As the doorbell rang, I frantically tried to clean up on my way to answer it. I wasn’t expecting anyone and my house was a mess. My tiny children were having a rough day. On the porch was my friend Denise and her young girls, with buckets in hand.
“I came to help you clean,” she said, “if I had called, you would have said no, but you need help so here we are.” I looked at their smiling faces and was speechless.
No one had done anything like that for me before.
I became fascinated with how Denise consistently implemented hospitality into her daily life. She taught her children by example to care for others.
This lesson was life changing for me. I was hooked and set out to learn all I could from my dear friend.
The state of our heart
The dictionary defines hospitality is a noun: a word characterized by kindness in welcoming guests or strangers
The Bible instructs us to change the noun into a verb, becoming an action word as we implement it in our lives. Romans 12:13 tells us “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality”.
The true meaning of hospitality could be summarized with the state of our heart.Hospitality has nothing to do with how well we entertain, but instead, how well we welcome. Click To Tweet
One requires a bit of effort. One requires simply opening our door.
The truth is, many of were not taught to be hospitable.
Or we inherited false ideas of the need for perfection. Reasons often include a lack of time to spare, lack of money to spend, lack of ideas…but mostly? We just never thought about it!
No problem! Baby steps are just fine. My friend Denise is from the South, known for their hospitality. It is just part of life, often taught from generation to generation.
I had to learn this as an adult, and if this is new to you? I encourage you to give it a try.
What does basic hospitality look like?
* Share your time
It can take as much or as little time as you have to invest. Even the smallest gift of your day can mean the world to someone who needs it. Show up to take a friend to coffee, give someone a ride, and watch a child so the mother can rest. It is as much about opening our hearts as opening our doors. Little things, big impact.
* It doesn’t have to cost money
A frequent misconception is that hosting people will cost too much money. Sometimes the budget allows for fancy things, but if not, don’t worry! There are plenty of free ways to entertain that can make a big impact (we’ll be covering that in this series). I cherish a vivid memory of a time I went to a friend’s house. She had prepared a pretty plate of cookies, had tea in a beautiful cup and had arranged a flower from her garden on a tray. It didn’t cost anything and knowing that I was special to her deeply touched me. Little things, big impact.
* Look for ways to surprise people
My absolute favorite way of practicing this art is looking for ways to do the unexpected. It is such a joy to see the slow look of amazement spread across a recipient’s face when they realize you took the time out to think of them. Hearing people say, “You did this for me?” over something that was easy and fun to do? Truly, it is humbling. What an amazing process that God invites us to be part of, and a great way to share our faith, sometimes without saying a word. Little things, big impact.
* Invite your children to be part of the process
When our kids were growing up, they would get so excited looking for ways to practice hospitality. Even if your kids are very young, ask them for ideas. Children are so creative, often coming up with very original ways to serve. Remember, this is a process…for you and for them. Please don’t be discouraged if you feel stumped for ideas. If you need help, there are several great books out there. Your family has plenty to offer, and kids blossom in this area, as they learn to think of others before themselves. Little things, big impact.
It is worth the time
My family probably shares a lot of similarities with yours. Time can be scarce with our homeschooling, household responsibilities, and other commitments. It is hard to make the time or have the energy to add one more thing.
It is hard to make the time or have the energy to add one more thing.
But, it is worth every investment of energy.
If we can just keep in the front of our mind, little things, big impact, it will become a beautiful habit. Hospitality is as much a gift for us as the intended recipient.
1 John 3:18 encourages us with these words, “Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it with our actions.”
Do you struggle to make your actions match your intent when reaching out to others? What is the biggest stumbling block?
This is the first of a special 2 part series. You can also read How do I practice Hospitality? Please share with friends who also could use a boost of inspiration.
Here is a link if you’d like a printable copy of the quote above for your personal use : Hospitality quote In the next few posts, there will be more printables and resource lists! For today, check out Gracetable.org You’ll be blessed.
**Inspired by a series originally written for TEACH magazine
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