I haven’t always been interested in hospitality. In fact, just the thought of inviting someone over sent me into a cleaning frenzy and had me on edge until basically the entire event was over. But some years ago, I participated in a women’s Bible study where we were taught specific lessons on Biblical characteristics alongside cooking and hospitality lessons. It was a wonderful experience that taught me so much, from what hospitality is, how important it is, and how simple it can truly be. It was only after that study that I actually became excited about serving others in my own home. So today, I would like to impart the same wisdom to you, as well as provide a few simple ways that you can serve others in your home.
What is hospitality and why is it so important?
Hospitality is simply the art of making someone feel welcome in your home. It’s a gesture of friendship that you want to get to know them more. Hospitality is also a way to show love to those you welcome into your home. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:8-9 “’Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.” Sharing our home with others shows love to those in need, and it’s a way to serve them when they may not be able to offer anything in return.
Being hospitable toward others is not only beneficial for those who may appreciate or need a meal or a place to stay, but also to those who may need a listening ear. Someone may be going through a hard time, or feel down, and the best way to serve their soul is by inviting them over for a chat or a game. It most certainly makes one feel special as well. Hospitality is also a great way to witness to and encourage others in their faith. Even if your guest is not a Believer, being kind, offering comfort and a listening ear can go a long way in introducing Christ to someone.
How to Serve Others in Your Home
Start with those around you
If you’re just starting to practice hospitality, begin with those around you. Invite your parents, in-laws, close friends, or friends from church. Talk with your husband as to who you want to provide hospitality to, both now to start off with and in the future. Do you feel called to serve strangers? Start with those you know first until you grow comfortable with the idea of serving.
Set realistic expectations
Once you’ve figured out who to serve, then you should decide HOW exactly you’ll serve them. Brainstorm some ideas and keep it realistic. I know it probably sounds nice to invite someone over for a 3 course homemade meal with your fine china on a Friday night. But do you have that kind of time after working all day? Is it realistic to put together with your little one around? Probably not. Set realistic expectations about what serving in your home will look like.
Keep your plans simple
If you haven’t noticed, I’m all about simplicity. When you have a heart to serve others, there is absolutely no need for a fancy, expensive dinner. Keep. It. Simple. Just inviting a friend over for some tea and cookies can make for a splendid opportunity for conversation and getting to know one another more. In fact, the best opportunities for hospitality are the ones where you invite someone to come alongside you on an already made plan.
Do you enjoy family movie nights on Friday? Invite a friend over and make extra popcorn. Enjoy board games as a family? Invite the new sister-in-law and her husband over for a game night. You really don’t have to overcomplicate hospitality. Just be willing to welcome someone into your home and serve them gladly.
Also, you don’t always have to host IN your home to provide hospitality to others. Send a card to someone to just say you’re thinking of them, or take a meal to someone who is in need. You can even serve someone by offering to babysit or mow the neighbor’s lawn. Every year for Christmas, my husband and I like to make cookies, put them in tins, and pass them around to the neighbors and get to know them a little more. It’s the little things that build your servant’s heart. Keep. It. Simple.
The most important thing to know when it comes to serving others through hospitality is that it’s not about you. It’s about them. Don’t worry about how your house may look. As long as you have an ear to listen, that’s all that matters. If we think too much about what we think needs to be done or try to impress our guest, we then become more like Martha in the Bible when Jesus was in her home. We’ll get so caught up in our worry about getting things done that we’ll miss the whole reason why we’re serving them in the first place. Let go of trying to be perfect. Just be present and open.
Simple Hospitality Ideas
- Have a backyard cookout.
- Share a family meal.
- Share dessert and coffee.
- Invite over for tea and tv show.
- Host a Bible study.
- Invite to a book club or other hobby group.
- Have a potluck.
- Games or movie nights.
- TV sporting events: football parties, etc.
- Offer a place to stay for overnight guests.
- Plan play dates.
- Bake a treat and share with your neighbor.
- Give or send a birthday card or a Just Thinking of You card.
- Invite someone to church or Bible study.