Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Can I Really Extend Hospitality in a Small Home?

As I said yesterday, I used to struggle with having guests over. Not because I didn't want to have people into my home. Goodness, that definitely was not the reason. In fact, I've had the desire to "entertain" from the very start of our marriage when we were living in a small basement apartment.

My problem was that I felt limited because of the size of our home. The livable space of our home is 1600 sq. ft. (not including a bedroom, bathroom, and laundry room we just put in the basement last fall.) I was looking at magazines and television shows that talked about the proper way to entertain, and I was seeing big homes with wide open spaces, large kitchens, and lots and lots of space for guests to mingle and socialize.

Immediately I began comparing my small house to these magazine-worthy homes and began to feel envious and inadequate.

But my problem was that I was looking at the "where" of entertaining rather than the "why" of entertaining. And I began to learn that the heart of the matter really had nothing to do with entertaining at all. I was looking at it all wrong. The magazines and television shows were showing me how to entertain so that my guests were impressed. The Bible shows me how to entertain so my guests are cared for and loved.

You can read more about what true Biblical hospitality is here in this post I wrote last year. It really clears things up and brings us to an understanding of what true hospitality is really all about.

So, yes you can extend hospitality even in a small home. Hospitality isn't about impressing our guests. It's not about showing off our cooking or decorating abilities. It's not about setting ourselves and our capabilities up on a pedestal for all the world to see.

It's about so much more. It's about thankfully taking what God has blessed us with (whether that's an apartment, a trailer, a small or a large home) and then using it to bless others. It's about providing guests with a warm, welcome place to come in, prop their feet up, and relax. It's about showering your guests with the love of Christ from the moment they step over that threshold until the time they cross over it again when leaving.

Biblical hospitality has nothing to do with the size of our homes. Biblical hospitality doesn't even necessarily have to do anything with our homes at all.

Because if we're having people into our homes to prove something, if we're having people in to Linkshow off our possessions, then we're approaching this whole hospitality thing with ill-motives and ill-intentions.

After all, would you rather spend time in a small home with hosts who make you feel accepted and at home or in a big house where you feel inadequate and inferior? A place where you feel loved and accepted just as you are or a place where you think, "boy, I can't ever have them to my place because I know I can't live up to this." A place where, when you enter, you are instantly filled with a sense of something deep and gratifying or a place where, when you enter, you feel envious and even intimidated?

Tomorrow I will be discussing how I "entertain" guests at mealtimes. I've had as few people as another couple in for dinner and up to a whole family-full for dinner. So I'll share about what I've learned in this area of preparing and providing meals for others in our small home.

Have a blessed Wednesday!

1 comment:

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. My father and I lived in a small apartment. Now we're living in my aunt's big house, but I really LOVe thhe idea of learning what Biblical hospitality means :) :) I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts. I found your blog via the link-up over at Raising Homemakers. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)