The true meaning of hospitality lies in the attitude of the heart. Your attitude should reflect a desire to touch and warm and refresh the heart and spirit of your guests. This attitude is demonstrated by your active presence as you direct your full, heartfelt attention toward your guests. All the planning and preparation should say, "I'm glad you are here!"
Your whole attitude about focusing on others is extremely important. Perfection is often more about appearance than substance. Sometimes I think we shy away from hospitality because we get caught up in the details of the entire meal and décor. People just want to be thought of and feel special.
God intended our lives to be shared with others. Hospitality is about Christ's love being expressed and connecting, community, caring, and to foster friendship. The simple act of eating together represents something much bigger. The table was the first and most important social platform before Facebook or any of the social media platforms. The kitchen is the heartbeat of the home. It's where the senses are engaged, a place where people linger during the mealtime, no matter the food on the table. It is a time for food, family, friends, fellowship, fun, laughter, tears, caring and sharing. I believe hungry hearts gather as they find a seat around the table. When you prepare a place for them in love and prayer, I believe you pull out a seat of honor for your guests. They will see Jesus as they sense His presence, hear His voice, and sip the cup of kindness. Truly they will taste and see the Lord is good.
Jesus took full advantage of sitting around the table, a warm campfire with his disciples and others. As He sat and ate, more things were going on besides the bread and fish. Around the table was a favorite time for Him to engage with people. It was one of His most important but simple ways to teach His disciples, evangelize, encourage, and engage with people. Let's take His lead. So let's set the table and set our hearts to love our neighbors as ourselves.
The world is hungry to gather at the table but many often feel overwhelmed with knowing where to begin. To finish off this series on hospitality, here are a few tips that I hope will inspire you to move forward putting hospitality into practice.
Good things to practice:
Be kind. Share the cup of kindness.
Be joyful, conversationally and complimentary.
Be full of grace like Christ.
Be sensitive to others' feelings.
Be loving and thoughtful.
Have fun at your own gathering!
Plan your work; then work your plan.
Plan ahead - Make a to-do list.
Delegate work - Ask family members or your besties to help. I've had a team of friends to come and help me with large gatherings. It works amazingly well.
Create the tone.
You always set the tone of the gathering. If you are happy and relaxed, your guests will respond in like manner.
Keep a positive attitude. Avoid negative thoughts about your home, your own inadequacies, food preparation, weakness in you, etc.
Be yourself, no pretense.
Focus on your guests and have a good time.
Keep the main thing the main thing - your guests.
Pray - Pray - Pray.
Some of my Favorite Stores to look for Bargains
The Dollar Store - White Plates, Stemware, Bowls, Baskets, etc.
Hobby Lobby - check their half-off sales
Partner with a friend or family - If you don't have it, check with family/friends to borrow. Take care of it like you would take care of your own things.
Paper Goods - I really enjoy the beautiful and fun paper products. Use chargers to dress it up.
Place Ware - The Dollar Store has silver plastic-ware, a setting for four. It looks nice.
Flowers - Use grocery store flowers. If you don't know how to arrange flowers, keep it simple. You can also ask a friend who has the gift of flower arranging. I'm sure there is something you can do for her in exchange.
Use all the same color of flowers, put them in a vase, and it will look fabulous!
Mason jars are lovely with daisies or just greenery from your backyard.
Keep it SIMPLE and you will experience PLEASURE!
Recipes - Use tried and true. Be true to who YOU are. Keep it REAL! That will help you stay RELAXED!
Budget - Everyone has a budget. Stay within your budget. Plan ahead. Shop your home.
Think outside of the box - Be creative in your thinking. If that's not your talent, solicit help for ideas and plans. I'm always asking my creative friends. Use objects in or outside of your home.
When purchasing an item, always ask yourself, "How many ways can I use this item?" It's a great rule of thumb for me. I use my treasures in many different ways and achieve many looks.
Some Things to Remember:
Hospitality is not about you. It's about making others feel warm and welcomed. A time to express the love and grace of Christ.
Avoid perfectionism. Foster friendship by keeping things real.
Be creative. Use what you have. Keep things simple but nice.
Learn from others and incorporate help from friends.
Find mentors and learn to find a healthy balance.
One small act of kindness can make a big impact on others.
Don't forget to enjoy as you bless someone's life and you will also be blessed.
"My command is this: Love each others as I have loved You." John 15:12
It's been a joy to share my heart with you on the gift of hospitality.
Love and Blessings,
The Practics of Simple Pleasures is Entry Four and the finale of Sanctuary's series, Simple Pleasures. What's a quick tip you've discovered that helps you host more effectively in your home or ministry? Share the tip in the comments below!
Dorcas Schroeder has been communicating God’s Word for 35-plus years with warmth and grace, inspiring others to pursue a more intimate relationship with Him. Her passion is to see herself and others embrace the joys of walking with Christ in every day experiences. Due to various circumstances in her family, Dorcas became caregiver to both her parents and her brother who suffered with A.I.D.S. Through heartache, disappointment, great losses, and life happenings, she has learned that her source of help came from through the Scriptures that leaped off the pages of the Bible to become a reality. Her ministry is designed specifically for women for Practical Living Every Day. Dorcas’ desire is to show women their true value and worth in God’s eyes and their potential to uniquely influence the world around them. Dorcas enjoys decorating, gardening, & designing electronic cards for hundreds of people throughout the year. Married to the man of her dreams, Karl, for 46 years, Dorcas absolutely loves her husband and two grown children, Karl Jr and Tabitha, their spouses, and six grandchildren. Dorcas and Karl attend & serve at The Bridge in Mustang, OK. Follow her on Instagram @Dorcas7