Why Hospitality Matters

Hospitality is not always pretty, easy, or comfortable. Today I’m sharing a true story from a woman who wrote to me a couple months ago. I thought it was impacting, encouraging, and a real-life story too good to not share.

As a product of a bitter, nasty divorce, I have had to learn many things on my own – especially anything concerning hospitality or making friends and family feel at home around a dinner table. I determined in my own heart that I wanted my family to experience more love, laughter, and a sense of belonging around the family table so I started watching a couple dear friends from church and how they made simple, flavorful meals for their family. Everyone would come together and share their day over good food. I knew I had to start there – making meals a time for my family to come together and stay connected on a daily basis as a family. It was an important part of who I am and who I became. I am a self taught chef. I had lived out on my own at 15 years old.

By watching older women in my church, and various shows on TV, I saw the importance of making meal times a foundation to build family time around. A 30 year marriage, three children with their spouses and seven – going on eight grandchildren later, I think I discovered some success with my plan, and the amazing love of older women who gave me some guidance when I was just learning how to be a young single mom at 17. I am blessed with a family who loves me. Now I love to have people over to dinner to show them someone cares for them as well.

It’s important to me to reach out to someone who may be as lonely as I have been in the past, or that is going through a job layoff as my husband has, or a physical disability as I am with MS.

There were times my kids would call from church and tell me there was a mission group sharing their testimony and would I mind if they brought a few people over for lunch. Next thing I knew, we would have up to fifty people over sharing a meal. It was awesome. I am thankful my kids felt they had a home they could brings friends to. I never knew that feeling growing up. I lived in fear and shame. God is an amazing God.

Love is too great a gift not to share!

I appreciate what this reader wrote about “determining in her heart.”

Hospitality often starts with a spark of inspiration, found in our hearts.

There is something in us that wants to do more, reach out, engage, help others–often with love, warmth, and food–so I wrote out a few reason why hospitality matters.

Why hospitality matters:

1. It’s a result of our heart’s promptings.

2. It’s a desire to stay connected with our family and friends.

3. It’s a part of who we becoming.

4. We become better people when we learn by watching and interacting with others.

5. We become better people when we’re hospitable (even when we’re experiencing our own pain), because we are giving of ourselves.

6. It’s a cure for the lonely.

7. It’s one of the most powerful and tangible expressions of love, often made through body-nourishing food.

What is one thing you’ve learned about hospitality, either in your own home, or by watching others?

   

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12 Responses to “Why Hospitality Matters”

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    Tara G. — June 18, 2012 @ 4:21 am

    It’s a form of acceptance to have someone at your table or to sit at someone’s- I think it’s a crucial part in building relationships and that’s what life is all about- loving God and loving others.

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    Andrea — June 18, 2012 @ 5:00 am

    It’s not about what you have, rather what you give, that matters. I’ve often put on hold having a new friend come to my home because I live in a small, humble abode. But, what I discovered is that when I invite someone over for a meal, my worries seem to disappear along with the food. What a great feeling to make someone feel loved and welcomed with good food.

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    Maureen — June 18, 2012 @ 6:32 am

    Great post! I truly enjoy finding your writing in my “in box” every day!
    Thank you
    Maureen

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    Jan — June 18, 2012 @ 7:19 am

    Sandy – I just found your blog this morning and I LOVE IT!!! We are kindred sisters separated by the Mississippi River :) I’m in the middle of the great state of Georgia. I love to can and garden too and am only limited by time because I still work full-time “outside the home.” (Hope to retire in about 5 years, good Lord willing as my Granny used to say.) In fact just this morning on my drive in to work I was wondering if my friends figs were ready yet for making fig preserves…

    Blessings to you – and yes hospitality matters. You know the Bible says we may sometimes entertain angels unaware…how awesome would that be???

    Blessings,
    Jan aka…Gran Jan

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    Dayle — June 18, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    Great story.

    I’m not able to open up my home as often as I’d like to, due to my husband’s lack of enthusiasm. I think I’ve shared this with you before, but if you have any magic tricks up your sleeve, I’d love to see a post about ways to get spouses onboard for entertaining. I’ve just about given up. And he’s such a nice guy (hehe) and is a great conversationalist (is that a word?). He never meets a stranger and is an interesting person. I’m sure there are other women out there who know what I’m talking about.

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    Upscale Downhome — June 18, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful story. I can relate totally to Dayle’s comment. My heart wants to open my home all the time but my husband disagrees and I am waiting for him to grow in this area but it can be difficult.

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    Danijela — June 18, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    This is one really beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. I agree with you completely , we do become better people when we’re hospitable.

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    Mary — June 18, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Oh Sandy! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. This woman has a wonderful heart.

    I was recently listening to a radio show program on our local Relevant radio station where the person being interviewed was discussing how the most important gift we can give to others is the gift of kindness. How true! Kindness really does incorporate everything else…love, patience, peace, gentleness, and more. Opening our homes..and our hearts…through entertaining…is one of the greatest forms of kindness. It can make all the difference for the people who are the recipients of our kindness…especially when they may have otherwise been alone.

    The other day, my son asked me if we could stop by and visit his reading teacher (she is in her 70′s now and a widow) and bring her a plant. How sweet is he!!! We stopped by the local garden shop and he picked out a beautiful hibiscus plant in a dark blue planter. I didn’t call ahead (which concerned me a bit) and just swung by her home and rang the door bell. Well…she was so happy to see us and invited us in for tea and cookies. I apologized for crashing in on her. Her response…with a big smile, “Oh never worry about that…I love crashers!”. LOL!!! How cute.

    So on that day, my son showed kindness by opening his heart…and his teacher showed kindness by opening her home (and her heart) to entertain us. It was a banner day!

    Much love to you!!!
    Mary

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    Darla — June 18, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    If you truly welcome people into your home then what you serve or how you decorate really won’t be a big deal. Making someone feel welcome, in your home, in your church, at your lunch table at work, anytime really, is important but sometimes we are with our own “group” and simply forget.

    Darla

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    Anna Davidoff — June 18, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    What a beautiful story! I also feel that hospitality matters because it gives you a small, personal sense of accomplishment and pride to make others happy. Making a great meal that people enjoy and smile about, or throwing a memorable party, makes you feel good for not only being able to provide that for others, but just getting it done in the first place.

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    Brittany — June 18, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

    God has definitely laid my lack of hospitality on my heart lately. In fact, that guilt is what lead to to do an Amazon.com search of books on how to be hospitable…which lead me to your book…which lead me to your blog…which has made me determined to make opening up our home a priority as soon as we move into our new place next month.

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    Aggie — June 19, 2012 @ 5:36 am

    Love this post my friend.

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