Let Me Entertain You!
I love to entertain. I really do! No, not by performing for you, though I am a speech teacher and love to do that kind of performing. I love to have people in my home for good food and conversation. I was taught to love to entertain. My mother was a hostess par excellence and taught me by her example and words. She was quick to remind people that it was a command to be hospitable, not a choice. The Amplified Bible renders I Peter 4:9 as “Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body and [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).”
Entertaining does not have to be a burden. In the book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison (one of my favorites right now!) the author says, “The whole point of entertaining is not to impress people, but to welcome them.”
When my children were small (five in six and a half years) I thought that I needed to have my house clean before I could have people over. Then I realized that was not going to happen and settled for just picked up. People did not want to come to see a spotless house. They didn’t even notice what seemed glaring to me. They simply wanted to be invited in.
I didn’t have much to offer guests in the way of food. We were too poor for that. So instead I gave them what I had. I remember once having a visiting family over after church for popcorn and water. I had several friends who would ask when I was having beans and cornbread or potato soup so they could invite themselves over. Food is not the major reason to entertain.
I now find that I can entertain by asking others to help out on the menu. I generally prepare the main dish and my guests contribute other parts. This last Friday night I had ten people for dinner, but all I prepared was a meatloaf. Others brought salad, baked potatoes, vegetables, rolls, and dessert. We had a very satisfying meal without burdening anyone. People want to share in the supply. One dear friend washed the dishes as his contribution.
One of my goals this year (as it was last year) is to invite new people over, to extend hospitality to those I do not know well, not just my close friends. I need to stretch a little further.
What is keeping you from being hospitable? Let me challenge you to stretch. Practice hospitality. Have a welcoming home.
~~Faith Himes Lamb