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Wise Women Living Series: How to Prepare for Guests—The Heart of Hospitality (Pt. 2)

Welcome to Part #2 in this Wise Women Living Series on becoming ladies who are Hospitable.

Last week we began by:

  • Addressing the most important and overlooked thing we need to prepare.
  • Understanding that biblical hospitality it’s not the same as entertaining.
  • Meditating on God’s hospitality towards us.
  • Looking at how we can imitate His welcome to all who enter our homes.

If you missed part #1, you can read it here.

Next week, we will wrap up this series with some very practical tips that you can implement when you invite others to your house, but today we’re going to continue focusing on the heart of hospitality with 10 more ways to get ready for guests!

#1. Remember that Hospitality is Not an Option for the Believer; it is a Blessing.

If you are a daughter of God, you are called to be:

...given to hospitality. 
Romans 12:13b (NKJV)

In 1 Timothy 5:9-10, Paul (speaking about widows) provides us with characteristics of an honorable woman who has a reputation for good works.  Among the list of her good works is: 
"if she...has shown hospitality."
1 Timothy 5:10 (ESV)

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:9 (NKJV)

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 13:2 (ESV)

#2. Remember Our Homes are Not Our Own.

No matter how much our homes reflect our personality, they belong to the Lord and are a gift from Him.

Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.

Job 41:11 (NKJV
And [Job] said:  'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there.  The Lord gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every prefect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights...

…For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.

Psalm 50:12b (NKJV)

#3. Put Down Your Pride and Let Go of Perfection.

As a perfectionist-in-recovery, I’ve sadly fallen prey to the many pitfalls that go along with this tendency. So, what did the Lord use to set me free and help me learn to just let it go?

2 Big Lessons:

#1. Perfection is unattainable in this fallen world and when we strive to reach it we’re often just left discouraged and discontent with what the Lord has blessed us with, wondering why dinner, our home or our appearance didn’t come out just a little better. And this obviously leads to stress which directly affects our attitude toward all those around us-including our guests.

#2. Perfectionism is a manifestation of pride. Why? Apart from the previously mentioned, if we are truly honest with ourselves and the Lord, we have to admit we’ve taken our eyes off of heavenly things and placed them on the work before us. Instead of imitating His hospitality we’ve crossed the fine line into entertaining. We fear that others may see our failures and desire to impress them and look “perfect” in their eyes. I’ve been there & done that more times that I’d like to admit.

Before listening to the podcast that shared these truths (sorry I don’t remember who it was to give due credit), I’d not considered them before. But in that moment I confessed my sinful heart motives to God and repented. And now, although I strive to do my best for the Lord, I’ve learned to let some things go and simply enjoy letting others in. And thankfully, the difference between biblical hospitality and entertaining is much clearer.

Martha Stuart, in her book Entertaining, says, “ Entertaining, like cooking, is a little selfish, because it really involves pleasing yourself with a guest list that will coalesce into your idea of harmony, with a menu orchestrated to your home and taste, with the decorations subject to your own eye.”

The deep seeded worrying, the excuses, and the over thinking of a simple invitation should be warning signs, telling us where confusing social entertaining with hospitality.

Jen Schmidt, Just Open the Door

So if dinner burns or your soufflé falls flat, don’t start to get upset or stress out—remember the wisdom God offers to us in Proverbs 17:1 (NKJV)

Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

Next time when you’re pondering over what to eat when you invite others over—remember it’s better to enjoy plain sandwiches in peace than to serve up a 5-course meal with a bad attitude and tension in the air.

Let this truth sync deep. Receive it as absolute freedom, stop striving for the unattainable, stop worrying about what others think of your performance, and focuses solely on our One-person audience, knowing this focus will always lead you to loving others…Surrender your idea of perfection. Trust me, our version is so overrated anyhow.

Jen Schmidt, Just Open the Door

#4. Ask God to Give You a Generous, Thankful & Open Heart.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Proverbs 3:27 (ESV)
Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. Proverbs 22:9

This last proverb although focused on being someone’s guest, can also be taken as a warning to not be stingy hosts. May this never be description of us!

Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!”he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:6-7 (ESV) [emphasis added]

#5. Remember that not everyone will be grateful.

Not everyone will have a grateful heart.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:8-9 (ESV)

Such a sad, but true reality. We can give our hearts, we can give our best. We can even be a living example of the love of God, yet there will still be people who pass through our doors that will complain and be ungrateful. Maybe, you’ve already experienced this or perhaps you’re new to opening your home. Either way, we must be prepared ahead of time in order to deal with such situations with grace.

How?

Instead of Grumbling, Continue to Show Them Love.

Above all, continue to show love to one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)

If we don’t have love, even though all the other details of hospitality go well, it means nothing . (1 Corinthians 13)

Be Merciful as Your Heavenly Father is Merciful

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Mist High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 
Luke 6:35-36 [emphasis added]

Forgive others as Christ Jesus has forgiven you.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 
Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV) [emphasis added]

#6. Pray.

Pray for:

  • Before—Preparation of: 1.) Everyone’s hearts & 2.) The Practical Stuff
  • Time together—For strength, wisdom, that you’d be an imitator of God & that it would be an pleasing offering to Him.
  • After—That the Lord would continue to use your time together for spiritual growth and blessing for years to come.

We never know what trials others are going through. So take some time to pray for your guests.

…Pray for one another…The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16 (ESV)

#7. Serve with His All-Sufficient Strength

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another…whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies…

1 Peter 4:10-11a (ESV)

(Check out this post: 2 Simple Ways to Discover Your God-given Talents & Abilities.)

Opening our homes can be a scary thought as each one of us are very aware of our personal weaknesses.

Remembering who Christ is, gives us strength when we are weak and courage when we fear.

But He [Christ] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

Our Lord is faithful to provide, we need just ask.

Sweet friend, I know hospitality takes a bold kind of courage, but you can do this. Pursue it with the knowledge that Christ is enough. Whenever you feel, “I can’t do this,” Hear him remind you, “You’re right. You can’t. But I can.” Hospitality is where he can teach you bold new lessons about trust, humility, faith, and love.

Jen Schmidt, just open the door

#8. Remember the Why!

…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen

1 Peter 4:11b (ESV)
  • Love God.
  • Love Others.
  • Glorify His Name!

#9. Relax, Have Fun + Enjoy Your Guest!

Only the Lord knows what tomorrow will bring and so only He knows if we will have the opportunity to fellowship together again. Enjoy them while you can!

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his should should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (NKJV)

#10. Remember, as with Everything Else in Life, Hospitality is to be a Sweet Act of Worship to God.

I appeal to you there. brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1

All of our life, including welcoming others into our homes, is to be an offering lived for the One who brought us near and welcomed us in by giving His life as a sacrifice for our sins. By His mercies that are new every morning (Lam. 3:23), this is possible.

I’d like to end with one more quote from Jen Schmidt. As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve quoted her book quite a bit. The reason is because it had a profound impact on my understanding and growth in what it truly means to open our door to those whom God places in our lives and I want to share just a few treasures that I discovered with you. In this last quote, she is making reference to a simple coffee invitation that she extended to another lady.

"Our time together was aimed at the glory of God: to know Him and make Him known. It's where I began to see my offering of hospitality as a sacrificial act of worship...Biblical hospitality is much more than our latest dinner party.  It's not always cozy, tame, and comfortable.  I guess I'd describe it as broken people breaking bread with other broken people, laying it down at a table laden with grace.  A redemption table reflecting God's glory...He showed me again that to avoid the risk is to avoid the reward."

If this season is a painful one for your or others, there is comfort in God. I encourage you to check out: How Focusing on Christ can Help a Hurting Heart during the Holidays.

Blessings!

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on part #3!

And I’d love to know how you prepare your heart for company! Comment below!

And as always,

Be Kind. Be Encouraging. Be a Multiplier!

Love, Lauri

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