God's Girl

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

Hospitality 101: 7 Ways to be the Perfect Host

on June 16, 2014

I turn into a crazy woman before guests arrive at my home.

Sad but true.

It’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kinda thing.

I’m pleasant and easy-going one moment, then suddenly I begin shouting orders like a drill sergeant hyped up on too many Red Bulls.

 

My kids look at me like, “Where did Mom go and who is this woman?”

My husband rotates between trying to help, rubbing my shoulders and hiding out.

 

I have gotten better over the years, much better.

What drives this?

Is it really the need to make others feel welcome?

What is hospitality anyway?

Is it having the perfect house with the Rachel Ray spread and the Martha Stewart table settings?

Is it the perfectly vacuumed floors?

I look at the word “hospitality” for a moment.

I stare.

I see the word “hospital’.

Hmm… a place where sick people go to get better.

A place to heal.

A place to rest.

 

An image flashes in my mind….the Good Samaritan story.

A beat up guy on the side of the road.

People pass him by.

One person stops.

The one who should hate him stops.

How often do I stop to see people I have never considered before because they are different in some way?

Now does the Samaritan say, “I see that you are beat up. Let me take you to my house. I will need to clean it first, go shopping, and do a few other things? Why don’t you just hang out here on the side of the road, while I go prepare?

No.

Opportunities for hospitality often come when we don’t feel prepared.

How can you be the perfect host?

1) The hospitable person notices his neighbor’s needs.

True hospitality isn’t about my needs at all.

It’s about listening.

It’s about noticing.

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2

 

The Good Samaritan noticed this man’s needs.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.”

He didn’t throw a band-aid at a seriously injured man.

He met the man where he was at.

So often we avoid the hurt of others.

If someone has had a bad day, it tough to listen to them.

We can’t fix it, so it makes us uncomfortable.

Sometimes people just need to “get it out”, before they can let the love you want to show them in.

 

2) Hospitality involves having good boundaries.

Let me ask you this:

Did the good Samaritan heal the man?

No.

He just attended to his needs.

He couldn’t heal the man, but he could meet a need.

There may be times when I need to lead others to someone else who has specific abilities to help them.

The neighbor on the brink of divorce may need my encouragement and the name of a good counselor.

It’s important to know your boundaries.

” The next day he took out two denarii[e]and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Luke 10:34

 

3) Hospitality is sharing.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13

My co-worker forgets lunch. I share mine.

I share a funny story with a friend who needs a good laugh.

I may choose to share my time volunteering to help the homeless.

 

4) Hospitality looks for a need and addresses it.

 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matt. 25:35

A friend is feeling discouraged. I can build them up.

My neighbor’s marriage is failing apart. I can listen and pray.

Hospitality says, “I see you. Your needs are important to me.”

Before I meet a friend, I pray a simple prayer:

“God help me to love this person well. Not the way I think they need to be loved, instead show me how to love them in the way you want me to love them.”

I can’t assume I know what someone needs.

To truly know a need, I must be willing to listen more than I speak. 

 

5) Hospitality doesn’t hold grudges. 

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18

Do you want to spend time with someone who has a bitter heart?

It’s hard to be hospitable while holding a grudge.

Forgiveness allows my heart to be hospitable to others.

 

 

6) Hospitality protects.

“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10

My mom used to say, “If the person you are with talks about someone else behind their back, they will do it behind yours.”

Hospitality protects the privacy and the reputation of others.

Be a protector of relationships.

 

7) Hospitality is more concerned with enjoying the presence of another, than trying to impress them.

A friend recently told me that there is a big difference between entertaining and hospitality.

“Entertaining wants to impress.”

“Hospitality just wants to love.”

 

Who knew I could be the perfect hostess without cleaning my house or making a meal?

My family will be thrilled!

 

 

 

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