How to Have a Hospitality-Ready Heart

Last week we looked at some ways to have hospitality-ready homes. I mentioned several practical strategies, but one strategy—preparing to welcome guests with genuine enthusiasm—is not practical. Instead, it relates to the state of our hearts.

It’s one thing to get your home ready for hospitality, but another thing entirely to get your heart ready. How can we prepare our hearts to welcome guests?

In trying to prepare my heart for hospitality, I’ve found it useful to consider some things that hospitality isn’t and some things that it is.

What isn’t and is hospitality

  • Hospitality isn’t just about hosting people in the physical structures of our homes. Yes, we often invite people into our homes when we practice hospitality, but hospitality is also about inviting people into our lives. It’s about fellowship (Acts 2:42-46), stewardship (Luke 12:48b), meeting the needs of others (Romans 12:13, Leviticus 19:34), and sharing God’s love (John 13:34).
  • Hospitality is for everyone. You don’t have to be on Pinterest or have a big house to practice hospitality. You don’t have to be female, married, or wealthy. You don’t even have to have the “gift” of hospitality. The Bible provides these instructions to all who follow Christ: Show hospitality to strangers and saints (Hebrews 13:2, Romans 12:13) and do so without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). In Titus 1:8 and 1 Timothy 3:2, hospitality is even listed as a requirement for elders.
  • Hospitality isn’t easy. When we practice hospitality, it rarely looks like the images we see on Pinterest or the covers of cookbooks. It’s messy, it’s complicated, and it requires us to sacrifice and be vulnerable. We want guests to share their lives with us so we can share in their joys and their struggles (Romans 12:15). The joys part of this is easy, but most of us are less enthusiastic about sharing in their struggles. We don’t want to take on their problems because we have enough of our own! Sometimes it’s challenging to invite certain people over because we have personality conflicts with them. Sometimes it’s difficult because we know certain individuals will never reciprocate the hospitality. As we go about this messy, complicated hospitality, we’re vulnerable. If we keep it real, then we expose our imperfections—the physical imperfections of our homes, the relational imperfections in our families, and the spiritual/emotional imperfections of our hearts—to our guests. This sort of vulnerability is uncomfortable, but it is necessary to form deep, genuine relationships with our guests.
  • Hospitality is a display of the Gospel. When we welcome loved ones and strangers to our tables and into our homes and lives, we illustrate how the Lord has shared eternal life with us. Though we may be sitting around a table breaking bread (or pizza, meatloaf, burritos, etc.), the way we serve and our words point our guests to the Bread of Life. When we prepare spaces for tired individuals to stay the night, we model Christ’s ultimate hospitality—that He is preparing a place for us to spend eternity with Him.

Sharing our hearts and homes with people has eternal consequences! Doesn’t this get you excited about hospitality?

Do you ever struggle to get your heart ready to welcome guests? What things do you do to remove your focus from yourself and place it on the people you are welcoming into your home?

Shared at the following:

Monday’s Musings, Literacy Musing Mondays, Tuesday Talk, Happy Now Link-Up, Coffee and Conversation, Faith Filled Wednesday, and The Art of Home-Making.

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Comments

  1. This is on e of my favorite topics to read and write about because we get confused between hospitality (which God wants all of us to be doing) and entertaining (which might be great for people who are good at it, but it’s outside my pay grade). Thanks for your thoughts about being salt and light and allowing God to use what He had given us for the furtherance of His kingdom.

    • Yes, great point, Michele. There is a difference between the two. Personally, I often struggle to remember that I don’t have to worry about entertaining. Instead, I need to focus on real hospitality. This is freeing!

  2. You make some good points here. I would say that hospitality definitely doesn’t come easily to all of us. When I was first married (14 years ago), I struggled with it and found it very nerve racking. I choose to keep doing it and now I really enjoy it. I think the biggest thing I struggle with is that my attempts at hospitality rarely get returned. However, I’m realizing that isn’t the right heart attitude, so it’s one I’m working on.

    • Hi Rosanna,
      It’s encouraging to hear that you kept at it and now enjoy it.
      I’ve heard others say that they feel frustrated that their hospitality is rarely returned. I guess this is good for us to keep in mind when others do extend it to us! We can be sure to reciprocate.

  3. YES. I have a struggle with hospitality in each way–opening myself up to others, and inviting others into my home. Some of it stems from my introverted personality, but honestly I have a hard time in particular because my parents were foster parents, beginning when I was a pre-teen, and sometimes it was a tough experience sharing my home, parents, and life with others. I’m trying to grow in this area, and I just wanted to thank you for a lovely post on the topic! ❤

  4. Such an important topic… and one not always understood or practiced too well. It is so easy to feel intimidated and that is usually because we think of hospitality as “entertaining” but they are so different. Thank you for your post. 🙂

  5. This is something I struggle with. I’m a pretty closed-in introvert, and preparing to have people in my home is one thing – I guess because I have plenty of time to get mentally ready. But having an always open, hospitable heart is something God has been working with me on recently. Yet we can’t minister to others if we’re closed off to them or not willing to let them “intrude” on our time and schedule. His example of always being open to me encourages me.

    • Hi Barbara,
      I often struggle with feeling like guests “intrude” on my time and schedule, too. I need to emulate God’s example of always being open!

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