Commandment #1: Hospitality is a Gift
Hospitality is not only a gift I have but a gift I give. Be passionate about it!
How can you be passionate about something you feel you are totally inept at, you ask yourself? For some women like myself, hospitality is as natural as walking. For others, it takes work, practice and effort. In my lifetime of entertaining, it has become a channel for some amazing experiences.
I keep 3×5 index cards, bound by a rubber band; of all the guests we have had in our home. I now have fifteen years worth. I record the month/year and what I served. I occasionally thumb through these cards and reminisce. Not necessarily about the meal served, but about what happened around our table that night. Some couples are no longer married. It makes my husband and me wonder, what more could we have done? How could we have helped these people? Real, heart-felt, conversations and sometimes tears took place around the Coughlin dining table. Many times healing as well.
Essential to hospitality is opening our hearts and our homes. We each have a home – be it a small home, mid-sized home, or a mansion! And no matter what the size of our table or what food is served, bonding around that table and enjoying a meal makes people feel loved.
I never thought much about entertaining being different than hospitality, because I refer to both of these often on my blog. But searching deeper, there is a difference. Entertaining can be a burden when I carry around the feeling that I must impress others. Oops! That is hard to write because I’ve experienced it myself. The difference in hospitality is it does not try to impress. I find myself loving and serving and not even thinking about myself, and stories like these are posted throughout my blog.
Entertaining too often says, “I want to impress you with my creative new recipes and the latest decorating fad and my perfectly decked-out house.” It can show that I want to be admired! Hospitality, in turn, says, “This home is truly a gift and it may not be perfect, but come on in for great food and soul connection.” It also says, “What is said around the table stays around the table.”
One more thing about hospitality: It gives without expecting something in return. My husband and I have discussed this. We have served meals around our table for 18 years now, which have not always been reciprocated. Now, do we give to receive? No way! But that is one reason this blog came to be. I can think of so many reluctant entertainers out there that “voice” their desire to be more hospitable, but they’re afraid to. So, how can I help the reluctant entertainer gain the confidence to take his or her God-given gift (even if it has to be nurtured), and use it?
I hope I can help by explaining further the core meaning of hospitality. My TEN COMMANDMENTS spell out the word “hospitable.” How appropriate that the dictionary would define it between the words “hospice” (meaning shelter) and “hospital” (place of healing).
Its no wonder so many people are afraid to “entertain.” Wouldn’t you like to offer a place for others to heal instead? I hope I’ve ignited a renewed passion inside of you!
I’d like to hear your stories of what being hospitable means to you?
(what a reluctant entertainer should not look like! I must have been worried about something!)