Whew! The past three days have been a whirlwind in our house: Company on Sunday, missionary visitors for lunches on Monday and Tuesday. All meals I planned and prepared. And now I am tired! Now don’t get me wrong, I love practicing hospitality. In fact I am constantly spurred on to love and good deeds by my friend Sue, who daily blogs about the challenge and the blessing of hospitality. She has encouraged me to think about the difference between entertaining and hospitality. You might think of having people in your home as entertaining and see it as a burden. Too much work! I have learned to think about the blessing of practicing hospitality, a welcome heart, to those who cross my path and sometimes my doorstep.
Here’s the difference: entertaining is really putting on a show. Sometimes that’s appropriate; bridal showers, baby showers, and birthday parties are all examples of entertaining. They’re events for which time is needed to plan and prepare. Hospitality on the other hand can be as easy as inviting someone over for coffee and a chat.
In fact, practicing hospitality can simply be offering to share a meal of leftovers! What? Leftovers for company?!? Outrage, right? Not at all! When you take the simple lunch of what you have, like loaves and fish, and offer it to the One Who can multiply our humble offering and make all things new, hospitality takes on a new purpose.
Offering what little you may have in the refrigerator and pantry is not as important as giving your time and attention to the person (or people!) This is my definition of showing hospitality: “making people feel at home in your presence.” It does take an attitude adjustment and a shift in mindset, which can be super challenging, but you can practice hospitality wherever you are! If you need encouragement like I have, check out Sue’s blog here. If you feel paralyzed about how to shift your thinking from entertaining to hospitality, let’s get together! We can overcome the obstacles that keep you from willingly opening your home to show God’s welcome heart through hospitality!