Friday, August 14, 2009

Lessons in Hospitality

In my pursuit of learning the art of domestic engineering, I am really enjoying my new book on hospitality. So far, "Hospitality, the Joy of Serving Others" by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tadlock has proven a wonderful source of encouragement, inspiration, good recipes and witty anecdotes-and I'm only on chapter three! More than serving up ingredients for successful entertaining, Ennis & Tadlock paint a clear picture of biblical hospitality that extends far beyond appetizers, dinner music, and dare I say comfort!

Each chapter is sprinkled with great pointers and also provides a helpful concluding summary for study. It is my intent to pull out some of my favorites and share them here for future reference and practical application. Perhaps an "adventures in hospitality" series if you will. Here is my first lesson:

I really appreciated the author's distinction of biblical hospitality. Biblical hospitality separates itself from everyday entertaining as it is a demonstration of love. Entertainment may focus primarily on having a beautiful table decor or preparing gourmet food-having everything just right. In contrast, the food, table arrangements and other elements should be viewed simply as tools to express our love towards others.

This leads in to the next point of "hospitality without grumbling"-and don't we all need to hear that! Although easier said than done, it's so important to pursue hospitality enthusiastically and not with a complaining or grumbling spirit. The authors point out here that we should always be on guard for sins of selfishness, laziness and pride which can easily dampen the joy in serving others and practicing hospitality. This rings especially true for me as I think of how my own pride often cripples my hospitality. For example, our carpet was a hot mess before we put in our laminate floors. I was so embarrassed by how dirty they looked and was reluctant to even think about inviting someone over for fear of what they would think about the carpet and as an extension, my housekeeping skills!

This book is immensely beneficial for me because it's reminds me that hospitality is about serving others. Wait a minute-do you mean hospitality isn't about me(did I just write that out loud?). Not about the way I decorate my house, set my table or show off my budding cooking skills? This is not to say that providing a warm, welcoming environment and well set table for your guests is not important-rather that your time and energy should not be overwhelmed, nor your joyful spirit be exhausted in the details.Without a doubt, there are many more opportunities for genuine, enthusiastic and loving hospitality when your motivation is seated in the right place, for the joy of serving others.


Jen said...

this is so good....a while back, i wrote a post on hospitality too. i used to put out my best glasses, fancy cloth napkins and cook like super gormet food when people came over. i was quickly convicted and realized that the reason i was doing this was to show off my fancy things, and make my place look beautiful. I realized that those things could easily make our guests feel intimidated and totally uncomfortable. i learned that in having people in our home, my job was to make them feel as comfortable as possible....for them to put their feet on the couch, and use their cups (not glasses) without coasters :) sounds like a great book...i may just have to pick that one up :)

Jen said...

here's the link to that post :)

Lori said...

Thanks for this post Rebecca! After our conversation I felt convicted to finally purchase this book-- now I see God is reminding me once more that it is finally time to deal with this area of my life!-- ESPECIALLY the "not being about me!" part. :)

jeanna said...

thanks for the post. i agree with you and am always glad to be reminded that hospitality is about making others feel loved and not about me. what a foreign concept to most of us. thanks girl for your honesty.