by Mary Clare Freel
You have seen from our previous posts the Biblical demands for Christians to be hospitable and various uses of it. Yet there may be some who simply lack confidence and so shy away from it. Hospitality is not effortless, but it is easier than you think. Here are some practical steps to simplify hospitality.
Always keep in mind what your purpose is. It is not to impress others but to minister the love of Christ to them. You may not have someone over for an elegant dinner but may have them in for tea and cookies. It is an attitude not an event. My friend and my stepmother were very good at this — always welcoming every visitor stopping by to come in and have a cup of tea or coffee no matter how busy they were.
Plan ahead as much as possible. Planning ahead is key to making it smooth but not essential to making it happen. Sometimes spur of the moment get-togethers are the most fun. Planning is extremely helpful when it comes to the Lord’s Day. Here are some suggestions:
- Put the meal together on Saturday or earlier in the week. Many things can be done in advance. Soup and bread, or salads and sandwiches, are easy to make ahead, as well as meals in the slow cooker. You can also double recipes and freeze one for a later date.
- If you are not a confident cook, you can master two or three “company meals” and stick to those for Sunday dinners. I am not opposed to Stouffer’s lasagnas or Mrs. Edwards’ pies or other desserts.
Use other ideas for fellowship meals. Saturday breakfast or brunch, baked potato suppers, pancake suppers, and potluck suppers all work well. A spontaneous idea is calling friends to combine leftovers for a surprising meal. You can host a ladies tea or lunch.
Accept any help that is offered. We don’t have to do it all, and many love to help in the kitchen. It often is more fun when everyone is working together.
Accommodating overnight guests is possible without a guest room. If you don’t have one, you may shift people around and children may double up to open up a room for guests. Air mattresses have come a long way and even have frames to rest on. A den or study can become an instant guest room. Make sure guests know where everything is (i.e. towels, glasses in kitchen) and leave lights on for seeing at night. If you have a guest bath, you may want to have a basket that contains necessities. A basket of fruit and goodies is nice for those who have traveled far and arrive late, especially if they have changed time zones. Try to provide a lamp to read by and some light reading material for those who may have trouble sleeping. Young single folks, especially men, are usually happy to put their heads down wherever.