As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Friday, October 19, 2012

{31 Days of Hospitality} Day 19 ~ Let's Make It Work

Not to Impress, But to Bless

Oh my.  I am (almost) speechless.  

Have you read the posts of those who wrote about hospitality in the Linky Party that began yesterday?  Then you may be (almost) speechless too.  (If you haven't read them, go read now...before you read another word here.  You'll be inspired.)

They shared some tips, but they also shared their thoughts about hospitality and what it is and how they practice it or how they want to practice it more.  And I was literally in tears at times. I have been writing about hospitality for the past 18 days, but my resolve to open my home has been made more sure.  

Thank you, ladies, for taking the time to share from your hearts.  

(It's not too late to join in!  The Linky Party will be open through Sunday night, so link away!) 

I have something else to tell you!  On Monday, I will be having a guest poster.  I am so excited about this!  

Brenda of Coffee Tea Books & Me will be writing here!  

I have been reading Brenda's blog for quite some time, and her thoughtful posts are often a source of inspiration.  Among many other things, she has written about an ingenious hospitality concept, so I was delighted when she accepted my invitation to guest post.  You won't want to miss it.  

Now for today's topic...

Let's Make It Work!

By now we know that the goal of hospitality is to bless others, but we're still left with our own limitations.  Not excuses, but true limitations.  

May I suggest to you that you have your very own style of hospitality?  You do!  And your style can be totally different than that of your neighbor or your sister-in-law.  

My friend Barbara can host a tea that is as beautiful and as tasty as that of any tea room, and she delights in doing it. But if you don't have a china tea pot or the gumption to make four kinds of finger sandwiches and a variety of sweets, that's okay.  Maybe you can serve a cup of tea or coffee and a plate of cookies.  

You don't enjoy formal dinner parties?  No problem.  Plan to serve something simple that your own family enjoys.  Chances are your guests will enjoy it too.  Remember: Simple fare is often the best choice.  And don't be afraid to ask what foods your guests like.  

Find your style!  

Maybe your husband likes to barbecue.  Then plan simple backyard get-togethers.

If you get overwhelmed with a lot of cooking (or don't like to cook), host covered dish affairs. Or order pizza!  (Can you really be a good hostess and serve carryout pizza?  Of course you can!)

Perhaps you love to cook, have heirloom silver and fine china,  and get excited about gourmet entertaining.  Then that's your style...go ahead and lavish your guests!  

It's not really important what your style is.  It's more important that you are open to opportunities to open your home for the purpose of blessing and serving others.  

May I also suggest that there are seasons for different kinds of hospitality? Indeed there are!  As life changes, as our circumstances change, our hospitality reflects that.  

Finances affect our hospitality.  Don't I know it!  There were times when we were...well, I don't want a pity party, but let's just say that at times our coffers were empty.  But even in the lean (quite lean) years, we occasionally invited another couple over for a simple dinner.  Or we invited someone for dessert after church.  The frequency of invitations as well as the food that was served reflected our financial challenges, but we tried to open our home when we could.  Fellowship doesn't cost very much monetarily, but it is rich.

The layout and size of our house affects our hospitality.  My parents live in a lovely home, and for years theirs was the hub of all family gatherings.  But as the extended family grew...and grew (from 4 to 26 and growing), we began hosting.  Not that our house is large.  It isn't.  But we do have a large farmhouse kitchen and almost all events are centered there.  Some people may eat at the dining room table, but after the meal, we usually drag the chairs from the small dining room and place them all around the kitchen and hang out together and eat dessert from our laps.

Do you know that you can have overnight guests even if you only have one bathroom?  (Ask me how I know.)

So your table only seats four.  Why don't you place a small vase of fresh flowers or herbs from your yard in the middle of that table, and invite another couple to dinner, or a few ladies for coffee?  There are a few kiddos in the group?  I have found that children are not particular about where they eat (child-size folding table, floor pillows, coffee table while sitting on the floor, piano bench/table, vinyl tablecloth laid out "picnic" style on the floor...) as long as they are with one another.  Or you could serve the food from that table-for-four and let all the guests eat on TV trays or from their laps. (Just keep in mind the messiness factor when planning the menu.  And use "real" plates or sturdy paper/plastic ones.)

Does health alter the season of hospitality?  Absolutely.  Illness, chronic or acute, affects the ability to serve in our homes.  Those are things that are out of our control.  Poor health may require one to scale back, doing nothing elaborate.  It may demand that we limit the number of people, or the frequency of invitations.  Or it could even mean that one must cease from "entertaining."

However, even at that point, a warm and welcoming heart can still make a difference.

I have told you of my friend Ann who passed away last December after seven years with ALS.  It was my privilege to help Ann a bit with some shopping.  But every time I went into her home, she ministered to me.  She shared encouragement, a listening ear, love, the love of Christ.  No she wasn't serving cake and coffee, but she was serving nonetheless.

Yes, seasons of life affect hospitality, but they do not prevent it.  

So what are your limitations as you extend hospitality?  Can you make it work?


  1. I'm so excited that Brenda will be writing here and look forward to what she might say.

    Yes, I have limitations. If my back is wonky or my side is kicking, I don't have enough energy to pull "an event" together of if I must, I know that I can call in my daughter for some extra help. We all have limitations from time to time. As one of my commenters said yesterday, "We can practice." And that's what I've come away with, I am not by nature a good hostess, but that does not excuse me from not trying and doing better.

    Thanks for touching on this issue. I'm sure that you found a number with all the feedback you received yesterday. ☺

  2. It's so true about the seasons, and about hospitality being an attitude. Serving food or providing a bed does not equal hospitality. It's a matter of the heart. It was a fun party, Cheryl. Thank you for hosting it.


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