When you think about it, hospitality isn’t all about fun and partying. It covers the whole range of life experiences and emotions, if you truly have a hospitable attitude.
And some of those life experiences and emotions come through challenging times: loss of a loved one, birth of a child, or a sickness or surgery, to name a few.
I didn’t realize that this attitude would have such a huge influence on others, beginning with the seed that was planted years ago after the birth of my children. Back in the early 90′s, the meals ministry through our church was comprised of volunteers who would arrange for meals to be brought to the home after the birth of a child, or another challenging event.
My family was truly blessed by this act of love, because after the birth of each child, and after I had a major surgery – the meals came a-rolling in. I, in turn, started a similar ministry through the church that we attended at the time, just a few years later.
But this idea of sharing meals does not have to happen solely through a church! I was reminded to write this post after this last week, when one of my close friends had surgery. It’s not just church friends that I look out for! If I hear of or see a need, I usually jump onboard.
Here are some easy tips to make sharing of meals quite easy!
~ Determine who needs the meal, call and ask if they’d like to be a recipient, and then ask for some names of closest friends, neighbors, or family members. *
~Arrange for when the family would like the first meal, and for how long (I usually do 2 weeks for a surgery, and sometimes 3 weeks for a new birth).
~Inquire if there are any food allergies in the family, and what time of the day they would like the meal delivered.
~Make up a calendar for a 2-3 week period, and start making phone calls.
~Schedule meals for every other day. Every day is too much food.
~Don’t worry about asking what individuals will bring. It puts pressure on the cook to decide right then (and she may feel locked in), and it doesn’t really matter if the recipient gets 3 meals of chicken in a row. They usually are so thankful for whatever food is brought to them, and the every-other-day aspect helps with variety.
~Ask for the meal to be delivered by a certain time (I usually say 5:30) unless a previous time is arranged.
~Complete the full calendar for the time period, with full names and home/cell phone numbers.
~Email or mail the schedule to the recipient and let them know they should call if any changes need to be made.
Once the schedule has been mailed, I walk away from the job. As in, mission accomplished – the family is on their way to being blessed and there’s really nothing more I should have to do. I never “babysit” the schedule. I just let it flow and happen on its own. Yes, there are times when someone will forget, but that’s rare.
Who’d ever guess that we could bless other bodies and souls in such a simple, yet meaningful way? Especially through difficult times â€¦
That is what I call having a hospitable spirit. Seeing a need, jumping in to help ease the pain of others.
If I hadn’t been the recipient of this beautiful act of love years ago, I would have never understood how nourishing it is – to the body and soul.
* A church meals ministry is usually ran by a church, and through a list of volunteers.