Hospitality Defined

We have many reasons and excuses not to practice hospitality. We claim to not have the time or the money or our house isn’t big enough or any number of other reasons. But I think the real reason for most of us is fear, because we don’t really understand what hospitality is. Let’s release the fear today as we look at what hospitality is and isn’t.

Defining Hospitality

Dictionary.com defines hospitality as “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, and generous way.” That doesn’t sound like it should be scary, does it? The reason it becomes scary is that we misinterpret the definition.

Hospitality is not:

  • All about me!
  • Entertaining!
  • An elaborate production!
  • About impressing others!
  • Just about “having company” in our home!

We tend to get caught up in what other people may think of us, and as a result make them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. We need to get the focus off of ourselves, and we need to remember that the focus should be on our guest.

Hospitality is:

  • Being warm and friendly!
  • Being generous!
  • Simply sharing what you have!
  • Focusing on the comfort of others!
  • Important to practice wherever we are!

When we focus on our guest’s comfort, we take our eyes off of ourselves and our fears. When we relax and display a friendly  manner, our guests can relax and respond. Being generous is not about money and stuff, it is simply sharing what you do have.

We should be practicing hospitality in our homes, but we should also be practicing it in our churches and in our offices. We should be hospitable whenever and wherever we meet people and have the opportunity to make them feel comfortable. Hospitality is extending ourselves to make someone else feel welcome and included.

Grandma Julia Grandma Alice

My definition and understanding of hospitality comes from the example of two amazing women. My husband’s Grandma Julia (left photo) and my Grandma Alice (right photo) lived in very small homes and on fixed incomes. Yet, all who came to their doors were welcomed in and offered a cup of coffee. That cup of coffee often became a “snack” as cookies were pulled from the freezer, home baked bread was sliced, whatever meat and cheese was on hand was plated, and a jar of fruit preserved the previous summer was opened. We often laughed when we left Grandma Julia’s that we could skip the next meal because of the size of the snack she insisted that we eat!

I never felt crowded because their homes were small. I never thought of their homes as small. I remember sitting down to a meal at Grandma Alice’s and having the table stretch the entire length of the living room but there always seemed to be room for one more. In both homes, I felt welcomed and loved. Their generosity extended to family, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, literally everyone they knew or met!

Grandma Alice passed away when I was a teenager, and Grandma Julia passed away when my sons were teenagers. Their example shaped my family’s understanding of hospitality. We want our home to be a place that feels welcoming to all who enter just like their homes felt to us.

My Tuesday posts in the weeks ahead will focus on hospitality and hopefully making it less frightening to open up yourself and your home to others. Next week, I will be focusing on steps to prepare for hospitality.

Do you practice hospitality or does it scare you? Are you ready to embrace the real meaning of hospitality? What is your biggest fear about being hospitable? Please leave a comment and together we will find a way to release the fear so that you can become a blessing to others through your warmth and generosity.

Blessed to share my heart 4 home with you!

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