Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Christian Lady and Hospitality


By: Henry Dunkin Shepard Item #: 10324204

Greetings, Dear Ones,

I know most ladies are very busy and usually have a myriad of things they must be doing, including things they did not have time to do yesterday! 

 I believe it is essential to Christian ladies to extend hospitality and also to have hospitality extended to them. It is like getting the best ingredients  "from afar" (Proverbs 31:14) to make life taste good.

Times for Hospitality:

-It is important to extend or experience hospitality during bereavement. Having a visit with someone can fill up the lonely moments when they are missing someone the most.

-Giving hospitality when someone has crossed your mind; when you have been thinking about them and have not seen them in awhile.

-Inviting someone to visit, or visiting them, when you notice they may not have many friends or much social interaction with people.

Sometimes the seasons or days that are darker, colder, more isolating, or less prosperpous, are perfect times to extend an invitation. Maybe your neighbor, your relative, or the preacher's wife :-) needs company.  It might seem like an inconvenience to offer hospitality, but let us consider this: all real Christianity is inconvenient. Our life was not designed to be "at ease in Zion"  (Amos 6:1) where Christian duty is concerned.  We are told by the New Testament to be rich in good works! (1 Timothy 6:18).

1Peter 4:9  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

Two kinds of hospitality I want to deal with in this post are: hospitality extended by you, and hospitality extended to you.

The above photo shows one of the tea cups I am going to give away at the Preacher's Wives Afternoon Tea I am having in November.  I thought it had an interesting old-world style in the design, and is also very fancy and rich looking!

Hospitality You Extend:

Things to remember about this are:

-Your house will never be in perfect enough order to have guests, so just have a clean kitchen and bathroom and a presentable seating area.  It is tempting to repaint and refurbish, especially when a house needs so much care, but a person whom you have shown kindness to will always appreciate the warmth of a cup of tea and a sandwich, and you do not know what good you can do by that small act of hospitality.

-There is never a perfect time to show hospitality.  It is too hot, too cold, to rainy, too busy, and we are are too low on money or are waiting for personal problems to settle down, but there are lonely souls who do not care, and wish someone would visit them or invite them.

-Not everyone can share their homes for hospitality, but they can pack a basket and take a refreshment to someone and leave it on the doorstep or serve it and and share it with someone at a park or on the beach or a tailgate of a vehicle.  Keep people's age and personal comfort in mind, as some people are more comfortable in their own homes or would rather come and have tea at your house.

-Get used to being turned down.  It is surprising how institutionalized many people are, and though they have no hesitation in eating out or going to a cafeteria or a deli with friends, a home invitation to afternoon tea is foreign to them. You will suffer many strange remarks such as "I can't do anything like this myself, and I can't do it as well as you, so I don't want to come."  

When I was growing up, I was encouraged to find out how people did things, and to learn to emulate the Christian ladies who invited me to their homes. I was told that by observing, I could learn how to duplicate their hospitality in my life.  The thirst to learn and know more about hospitality is on the wan but we can revive it by showing hospitality.

-Help your guests become good hostesses by offering your help when they want to return the favor or invite ladies for tea.  Encourage them to invite you back!  Too often the preacher's wife or another capable lady spoils everyone by hosting everyone in her home, not expecting any return invitations. We really need to teach people to return hospitality willingly.  It is not good for other people's spiritual growth to always give them a pass if they never return your hospitality. Tell them it would really give you a bright spot in your day you if they would invite you over sometime.

You might say you would love to come and see them, sometime, too!  This would encourage other ladies to show hospitality.

 We are supposed to "out-do" one another in good works!  (Hebrews 10:24)

 When we invite someone after they have invited us, don't let it appear that they are just being paid back, which comes across as being a duty-invitation and very mechanical.  Often those who pay you back will never invite you of their own free will or their own inspiration.  They only invite you after attending your little event.  We should encourage ladies to feel the excitement and rejuvenation of hospitality in their own homes and invite people on a whim, not just to appear to be paying back. (Although reciprocating is very important).

 They should "feel" the excitement of hospitality and do it willingly, reaching out.  Have you ever considered that reaching out is opposite to being pulled?  When you reach out, no one has to ask you to do something. Reaching out means you are looking for  way to give of yourself.

-Extend hospitality even if you have not had a return invitation.  There are some people who are legitimately unable to open their homes due to their special circumstances, but should not be left out of your hospitality.

-Do it for other's sake: those who are lonely are especially needy of hospitality.  I know a few ladies who went "all-out" for hospitality for decades, and then when they were lonely, people forgot about them.

-Do it for your own sake. Hospitality makes you feel good.  You are motivated to get your house freshened up, maybe getting some new tea towels and fancy napkins at the dollar store, creating a pretty table setting or getting your rooms ready for a house tour. 

-Dress well. Your guests are so uplifted by your fresh appearance.  Ladies who want to dress more like ladies will go away wanting to dress in a special way.  You can be a big influence regarding feminine dress! If you sew, and the invitations are a few weeks in advance, take time to make a simple, colorful dress and apron.  If you do not sew and don't have time, try your thrift stores or discount stores for a new skirt or blouse just to make the event special.  Your appearance will determine the first impression of the atmosphere in your home, and set your guest's mood.

-Consider using the post for far-away friends who need a lift. There are a lot of things you can put in a package that say hospitality from afar!

-"Without Grudging" is important, so if you are not feeling well, are upset, or someone has been rude to you, wait a while before showing hospitality.  Be in the best mood possible. Having hospitality too late in the day when you are tired, or too early that you feel rushed, or at a time when you know you will not be good company, is not a good idea.  You can also take hospitality to someone if you are not able to do so n your home.  There are some "off" times for hospitality but there are also some very good times.

-If possible, keep things on hand at home that would provide an impromptu hospitality situation.

-Develop a sense of hospitality. That means you are always ready to extend it if needed and you are on the lookout for anyone who needs it.  It will give a hospitable nature to your character.

Since I depend very much on your opinions, please leave a lot of comments on this post!


By: George Sheridan Knowles Item #: 10606286


Andrea R said...

You know how much I adore this post, my dear Lydia! Thank you so much for sharing it.

Hospitality is sadly, a thing of the past in modern churches. Get together's must be stimulating and loud and usually outside the home. Modern women don't have appreciation for a lovely, reasonable time of fellowship with other women, so they simply don't do it.

Sadly, this is just another great divide between feminist influenced Christian women, and those who love traditional homemaking. If we truly live set apart, we can utilize this as a mission field that will not come back void.

God Bless you, friend! You are welcome in my home, anytime!

Lydia said...

Andrea: a mission field! A ministry...yes! We should understand the nature of the mission field. It is lonely and often the people who are hospitable are very alone, plugging away on their own with no response!

Suzanne said...

Greetings Lydia,

Lovely post, so much meat to chew on. I must print it out for a night time read. I dare say I agree with Andrea a bit. It seems hospitality is a thing of the past. I have tried to have get togethers and even wanted to have a ladies Bible study here, but I live 35-40 min from most, out in the country so they complain about the ride. Goodness if someone invites me I don't tend to care about how long a ride is! Women are so busy , too. I am a SAHM and have been for about 25 years now-I love it! Too many commitments and activities keep ladies from gathering. I love home gatherings more than the big ones at church they label "Ladies Event" , etc. A home can really make people relax and be a bit more open to friendship. Sorry this is so long! Thanks for encouraging women!

Linda L said...

Thank you dear Lydia for this post. The specifics are so inspiring. Thanks for the reminder too that it may seem like it's never the right time for hospitality (too hot, too...) then later mentioning that it's also important to choose a time that works well for you. (Not too early that you feel rushed...)

Your excellent post is very timely as I'm preparing for a regular visit for the day from my daughter-in-law and grandchildren which I look forward to(but I put a lot of work into their every visit which is very tiring.)Now I have a spring in my step thanks to your post and I'm in search of more ways to 'go the extra mile'.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Jenny said...

Showing hospitality has become so much easier for me over the years. I have let go of a lot of perfectionism and pride that was holding me back and that has brought for a real blossoming of hospitality in my life.

My husband prefers to be "just family" in the evening and on the weekends, so anytime I have people over it is during the day. I try to have a friend over at least every other month. I'll either do a lunch, tea and refreshments, or just a beverage. I rarely am invited anywhere in exchange but that is okay. I think sometimes people are intimidated because our house looks neat and tidy. I'm naturally neat and tidy and not prone to clutter, but I try to reassure people that we do have people living here and that I picked up all the strays so that they would not trip and would have somewhere to sit, but it is to no avail.

Another thing I am a big proponent of is taking hospitality to others. If someone I know is expecting, I send a card in the mail with a return envelope (complete with address and postage) offering them a variety of meal options for an evening so that they or their spouse won't have to cook. I ask about any dietary restrictions/dislikes and also when and where to leave the food. I don't mind at all to just leave it on the porch and let them know that up front, I'm not trying to visit and see the baby. I want this to be stress free for them.

Also, whenever someone new moves in to the neighborhood, I always take muffins or cookies. Funny story -- When I was 36 weeks along, a young couple moved in. I felt very uncomfortable health wise with the pregnancy, but when I introduced myself, I let them know that I would bring them over something eventually. Well, the day before I delivered (at 40 weeks), I had a sudden burst of energy and baked them muffins. Unfortunately, the neighbors were out of town, because when we drove past their house on the way to the hospital, the muffins were still on the front porch. Oh well! It's the thought that counts! I don't know if they actually ate them, but they did thank me for them.

One more thing -- if I hear that someone is sick, I take them food too. Soup, jello, etc. These little gestures make people feel good. It is always nice to know that someone is thinking of them.

Do what you can, ladies. Even if it is simple, the recipient will be blessed and you will too.

Unknown said...

Dear Lady Lydia
Thank you for another encouraging and inspiring post. Lately I have been experiencing some guilt over not visiting an older relative of mine. I kept telling myself that I am so busy at work lately and surely cannot be expected to be doing more than the everyday things that need to be done. Inside I knew my excuses were worthless but tried not to think about it. When I read your words "all real Christianity is inconvenient" it was like a bucket of cold water was thrown on me. I must remember these words everyday and learn to live them. Thank you again!

living from glory to glory said...

Greetings, I enjoyed this post, but I also enjoyed the other ladies comments. For myself, I now enjoy having only one or two ladies for lunch. And because I do live fairly far off the beaten path, I tend to take a friend to lunch. I think the world has changed so much! But we can always try to keep these lovely things alive. I do hope you are doing well!
Your dress is very pretty!
Yours, Roxy

Mary said...

Now that I am an older lady, and my husband and I are semi-retired, my husband works from home. I am glad that my husband is home with me, because without him I'd be very lonely; however, I find that this hinders hospitality. This is true of my friends, too -- their husbands are home all day. It is hard to do "gal talk" and exchange confidences with husbands in the background. Help!


I just love your artistic talents. You make a house a home.
Rahim Maarof

Polly said...

This is an excellent post! I love the reminders that we can "do" hospitality by taking something to someone else, or to mailing a package to someone far away! I love to have people over and don't worry about perfection--the house is cozy, tidy *enough*, and clean, and I like to bake muffins or gingerbread and make tea, and it's really a pleasant way to spend an afternoon! The more we do it, the easier it gets.

Barbara Jean said...

wow. what a great post! that is a keeper!
so many ideas, from big to small and making people feel welcome and important.