Do I love to plan and throw parties? Yes! As long as they don’t take place in my house. But, the thought of opening up my house to lots of people and (even worse) cooking food for them, makes me sweat profusely.
I so admire those women who are always inviting someone over for dinner. Those confident, competent gals who know their way around the kitchen, who know instinctually when to offer someone a drink or how to make someone feel at ease. Those wives must make their husbands so proud. They have such a valuable skill, the making-people-feel-welcome gene or whatever it is.
This is something I struggle with. I want to welcome people into my home. I mean, I guess I do. I know I should want to. But, none of the domestic talents that I should have as a full-time mother are all that excellent. I am quite a mediocre housekeeper, a totally unenthusiastic cook, and, although I am a people person (I love to be invited over, for instance), I just don’t feel like I have what it takes to be the Hostess Extraordinaire.
But, then I read the Bible. Ugh. It’s full of calls to be hospitable. And, not just to our family and friends, but to strangers. To those in need. We are to open our homes and open our hearts to those who need a safe, comfortable place to land. Now, I don’t think that necessarily means that we are all called to let every homeless person we come across sleep on our couch. But, I know that when I read these scriptures, I could do a better job of being open, I mean with my door physically open, to people I love and people who need a little comforting. I could make a meal here and there. I could invite our friends over and give them as welcoming an experience as I can figure out how to give. The truth is that when I go to someone’s house, I don’t really care if there is tons of space or if the meal is perfect or if the hostess is made up like a model. In fact, my favorite homes to go to are the slightly chaotic, relaxed, come-on-in-no-matter-what kinds of places.
I can do that. Right?
It’s going to be one of my new goals. Deciding to invite anyway, to cook anyway, to be hospitable anyway. Even if I don’t feel it’s my forte. And, I bet the more I invite others into our home, the more comfortable I’ll feel doing it. By the way, I also believe that a lot of the elements of hospitality take place outside the home, just by being kind and looking for those who need a little encouragement. In fact, I personally know a woman at my church who extends hospitality to all people at all times. It actually feels as if she is the official welcoming committee at church, and she is really gifted at making people feel special and welcome. So, that knowledge encourages me. Even when I’m struggling to bring others into my home, I can still extend Christ’s love by showing hospitality wherever I go.
I’ll leave you with a quote from a blogger who writes a lot about showing hospitality at her blog, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam:
Hospitality is a gift that changes lives, just one meal at a time.