Growing up there were no less than 50 family members living within a two-mile radius of our family home. This included grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins on both sides of the family.
And at the drop of the hat, guests would unexpectedly drop in for a quick visit at each other’s homes. Hospitality was expected and passed down from generation to generation.
My lessons in hospitality were learned from pure observation and were without formal instruction. Below are 13 simple lessons that I learned as a child.
13 Lessons in Simple Hospitality
- Clean your home first thing in the morning after breakfast. There is a fine line between deep cleaning your home when you know guests are coming and adopting the attitude of ‘love me love my mess’ attitude toward the cleanliness of your home. Keep the cleaning routine and simple.
- Always have a snack in the pantry or freezer ready to eat or thaw. (Food was an important part of hospitality)
- Have the coffee pot and teapot ready to go. Perhaps, offer some sugar or coffee creamer for guests.
- Ensure that the seating is clutter-free and comfortable. No need to be fancy. Just a clean surface to place drinks or food. And a place to sit is good enough.
- Your company is good enough. Keep the television off and the home distraction-free for good conversation.
- In our family, we kept visits to less than two hours as not to overwhelm the hosts.
- Don’t gossip. Just don’t do it.
- Allow the kids a certain room to play in, but definitely keep boundaries in the home.
- During nicer weather, our family would sit outside to visit and watch the children play.
- Greet guests (even if you see them daily) with a smile and friendly ‘hello’ as you welcome them into your home.
- Do more listening than talking. It makes the guest feel valued.
- Keep it simple.
- If a guest shows up unexpectedly, invite them in regardless of the state of your home. You have the choice here to either be a Mary (who spent time sitting at the feet of Jesus listening) or be a Martha (who spent time preparing the meal for Jesus and missed out on great conversation)
Practicing hospitality without complaining
Romans 12:13 says, “share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality for friends, neighbors, and family.
You and I are to PURSUE hospitality; not shy away from it. We are to go after it; looking for ways to be hospitable one to another, even if this means inviting guests into our home.
In 1 Peter 4:9, it says, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”
Be blessed and throw open those doors and greet one another in love.
Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home