Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Worthy Word Wednesday: Hospitality VS Entertaining

on November 13, 2013

ImageI read an article yesterday that was so fitting for this time of year for many of us. It was particularly fitting for me as a pastor’s wife for all of the time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are times when many of us are having people into our homes–family visiting, special meals, cookie exchanges, etc. As a pastoral family, we are trying hard to have people over frequently throughout the year as well. Thus, this article was a convicting one!

Jen Wilkin, in her blog post, “Choose Hospitality,” pointed us to a tweet she wrote three years ago: “Moms: keeping an orderly house frees you to exercise hospitality at will. Both the order and the hospitality are examples to your children.” Three years later, she reflects on her tweet with regret because what she was really saying  was that you  need to always have an orderly home, because if you don’t, you can’t be hospitable and you will be a bad example to your kids.

She regretted her tweet because she made it sound like hospitality was all about having a clean house. Hospitality, rather, should be focused on others. Entertaining, on the other hand she contends, focuses more on one’s self: my decorations, my meal plan, my perfect table setting, my perfectly clean house, my appearance. . .

She gives some examples of the differences between entertaining and hospitality:

Entertaining is always thinking about the next course. Hospitality burns the rolls because it was listening to a story.

 Entertaining obsesses over what went wrong. Hospitality savors what was shared.

Entertaining, exhausted, says “It was nothing, really!” Hospitality thinks it was nothing. Really.

Entertaining seeks to impress. Hospitality seeks to bless.

 Now, I don’t think the author is saying to never clean your house, take care of yourself, or have a nicely prepared dinner. In fact, she says, “The two practices [hospitality and entertaining] can look so similar. Two people can set the same beautiful tablescape and serve the same gourmet meal, one with a motive to impress, the other with a motive to bless.”

She says that the difference is our motives: “Our motives are revealed not just in how we set our tables, but in who we invite to join us at the feast. Entertaining invites those whom it will enjoy. Hospitality takes all comers.”

Many of us have young children at home; some may also work outside the home (which makes making time for hospitality even harder–I’ve been there!). Let’s be hospitable. Let’s not be so worried about putting up a façade that we have a perfectly clean home in order to minister to others. And for those of us–like me–who do have people over regularly, let’s do so from humble hearts that seek to minister to others rather than from hearts that seek praise.

Jen closes with the tweet she wished she would have written: “Moms: exercise hospitality freely, clean house or not, to any and all. Willingness and generosity are the hallmarks of a hospitable home.”

I encourage you to read her whole article here.

{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}


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