Hospitality is a gift. But, unlike other spiritual gifts, it’s not a gift you have. It’s a gift you give.
Hospitality is all about opening up your heart to another, putting others first, finding practical ways of demonstrating the love and acceptance of the Lord.
Years ago I stumbled upon a simple little tool that makes showing hospitality a wee bit easier. It’s my hospitality file.
It’s a simple recipe file box, but it doesn’t hold recipes. In it is an alphabetical file system and colorful index cards.
When we have someone over for a meal or party, I sneakily take notes. Oh, he doesn’t like red wine. She’s allergic to diary. The whole family is going gluten free. These are things I want to know and remember! Not only that, but simple things such as: He takes his coffee with cream, no sugar. She doesn’t drink coffee, but likes tea.
This way the next time they are over, I can strive to serve them what they really enjoy, without having to ask for the umpteenth time, “How do you take your coffee?” It’s one small way I can honor my guests and make them feel truly at home. I always assume if you dined with us once, you’ll dine with us again. (I guess I assume that we are pretty likable people.) And the next time you dine with us I want you to feel truly like family, not like an outsider. Having what you enjoy eating and drinking on hand (and not trying to put a food you’re allergic to in front of you constantly!) helps in that process.
This little tool also aid those of us inclined towards entertaining and not necessarily hospitality to lay aside our preconceived ideas of what is good, proper, delicious, etc. and really place another first. Want a silly example? We have a dear friend who likes his wine with ice. No really. He likes a glass of ice to go with his wine, so he can keep it thoroughly iced and chilled as he drinks. As odd as this sounds to some people (me!) and as much as we tease him about it, that’s one way I can set aside my preferences and put his pleasure above my own. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another…” Romans 12:10 There is no pressure to perform or conform at our home. We want you to enjoy. We want your soul refreshed. We want you to feel that you are among family. If a glass of ice can do that, you are welcomed to all the ice I have.
“…hospitality prevents us from living either desperately or indifferently. Hospitality requires not grand gestures, but open hearts. When I let a stranger into my heart, I let a new possibility approach me. When I reach past my own ideas, I begin to stretch myself open to the world, and this opening of my heart could change everything.” Radical Hospitality, St. Benedict’s Way of Love by Father Daniel Holman and Lonni Collins Pratt
Give it a try. It costs nearly nothing to keep a little hospitality file, but the impact is huge!
(Linked to From The Farm, Allergy Free Wednesday, Fight Back Fridays! Foodie Friends Friday, Homemaking Party at Hope In Every Season, Blooms Designs, Thriving Thursday, Making Your Home Sing, Creative HomeAcre Hop, Motivation Monday, Manic Monday, Mostly Homemade Monday, You’re Gonna Love It! Titus 2 Tuesday Wise Woman Link-Up, Pin It Monday and A Living Sacrifice)