I went to a women's retreat a few years ago and one session I attended was about extending hospitality. A wonderful lady spoke to us that day and she said something I will never forget. She said that inviting someone to share a meal at your home is one of the most intimate offerings you can share. They not only get to come inside your cocoon but also get a glimpse of how you live and what you eat! Very profound.
I have noticed over the years that very few people offer hospitality anymore. It is as if we think everyone will judge us if we host and don't do a perfect job or have a perfect table or cater food. Maybe all the television and magazines have made us think that we have to be perfect to do a good job hosting. That is so very far from the truth around here in Oklahoma! I'm guessing it is the same where you live too!
Most of us do not have hundreds of dollars to drop on a few friends for one night. However, most friends, of mine anyway, don't mind! Offering hospitality is not all about fancy stuff and fancy food. It is about sharing what you have. If all you have is a pot of beans but you're willing to share those with a good time of friendship, then share! I usually can't remember too much about the food or drink of a fun party but what was said, who was there and how much fun we had just visiting.
Early in my marriage, my husband and I often hosted dinner parties for our friends. I was still in college, so I had plenty of time to prepare nice dinners. My meals were not often gourmet, in fact, often it was a simple casserole with a salad and bread. Our home was small but our intentions were good and we always had a great time together.
Now days, most of my hospitality is offered to people under the age of fourteen and I don't mind at all. My hope is that I am teaching a new generation how to be a good host and that it doesn't matter what is served as long as it is served with an open, willing, sevice-minded heart!
Now that the days are getting longer and warmer, I challenge you to open your home to someone this week. Grill some chicken or hamburgers, assign a dish for each person and make some ice tea! I promise, most people will not comment on the dust on the coffee table. If they do, mark them off the next party list or have them host the next get-together.