Monday, February 6, 2012

Rewarding Hospitality (Part 1)

I’m a big believer in doing what is good and right because it is good and right. If God commands it, then I’d better do it, whether or not there are results I want or “prizes” being given out.
Photo Credit: Marion Doss

That said, there usually are rewards when we obey God, even for hospitality. Since I figure I invite 20 families over to one invitation out (I haven’t arrived at that number scientifically, it’s just an educated estimate), don’t plan on practicing hospitality so that others will practice on you!

My mother, after 56 years of practicing hospitality beginning in a 24’ x 8’ foot trailer going on to different houses around the country with formal dining rooms, is at a stage where she is reaping some of the rewards.

One reward is seeing others follow her example. She never set out to “teach” hospitality or mentor anyone in how to do it. She just did it and (and this is another theme you will hear frequently me from me!) people were watching! One of our most effective ministries, whether we want it or not, is being an example.

My mom's table at Christmas with friends
All the houses I can remember living in with my parents (in Texas, New Jersey, New York, and California) had separate dining rooms from the kitchen eating area. Mom had nice dishes, pretty tablecloths, crystal glasses, a budget that included roasts, and the energy to get up at 5:30 on Sunday morning to get the scalloped potatoes ready. The automatic oven roasted the meat while we were at meeting and shortly after we arrived home, guests in tow, we were enjoying a delicious meal. (Yes, she did have many other menus, too!)

The younger women came and enjoyed the meals and some of them began to give hospitality a try.

One friend of my mom and I—closer to me in age, closer to her geographically—came into possession of the large family house. She’d been having people over at her condo, but now she could HAVE PEOPLE OVER! She even had a dining room and a table! She placed a tablecloth on the table. Brought out the china, crystal and silver and tried to have the meal all finish at the same time and on time and enjoy her guests. After a few attempts, she reevaluated and realized she needed to do things in a style she was more comfortable with.

Enter the kitchen counter buffet.

Arrive early at my friend's house and you’ll be chopping, dicing, shredding, stacking, or pouring. Everyone has a great time joining in the process. Never seems like as much work when you do it with others, does it? After giving thanks to God, we line up at the counter and serve ourselves what we want and head to where we want to eat—the dining room table, the family room sofa, the kitchen table, the living room bay window, or a cozy spot on the floor. There are always too many to sit just at the table. Everyone helps with clean up as well, and in between they might listen to a presentation by a visiting missionary! It works!

She told my mom, “I was happy to practice hospitality once I realized I didn’t have to do it like Kay Hamilton!” To which my mom answered, “I never meant to set a standard. I just did what I was comfortable with.”

So mom is reaping the reward of seeing others follow, and adapt, her example of hospitality!


  1. Hospitality comes in many different forms! Inviting singles over for game night and snacks, keeping folks overnight, inviting college kids to spend Spring Break at your home, meals served in your own home or taken to others'homes. It is part of caring for others.

  2. Hospitality is indeed its own reward! And yes, you have to find something you are comfortable with or your guest are going to feel it. I'm learning it's about my guests feeling wanted and welcomed, not about my menu and my table being perfect. Kudos on your mom for setting such a wonderful example!



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