The art of hospitality is being lost in our society! It is sad to see, as it is a sure sign of the decline of our families. As our families are scattered between school, sports, friends and church, our busy lives never leave time anymore to minister to others. Yes, hospitality is a MINISTRY!!!! Read Rom. 12:12-13, I Peter 4:9
Hospitality does not have to involve alot of time and effort really. You will be more inclined to practice hospitality if you have a plan of action to minimize your efforts. Hopefully you will learn a few little tricks that I use on a consistent basis that help me to keep my sanity ~ although my kids might disagree about my sanity :o)
We have ALOT of company in our home. I have had to learn over the years to MINIMIZE the stress and to be very realistic about what I can physically do and keep up with. NO ONE comes to your house and inspects for dust bunnies under the bed, or does the white glove on your furniture, and if they do, don’t invite them again because you don’t need friends like that!!!! Hahaha! On the other hand, God does expect us to keep our houses decently and in order. This is a good testimony to others. Here are some tips for keeping the house relatively in order (relatively means I have kids, I am busy, and it is a challenge to have it totally neat!!):
- DO NOT go to bed at night, until you have made sure the living room, kitchen and bathroom are picked up.
- If you are blessed to have a dishwasher, always immediately put the dirty dishes in there instead of in the sink.
- If you have children, and the house starts getting to be a mess, have a code word for a fast clean up (mine is “take 5”). My children know to immediately stop whatever they are doing and AS FAST AS POSSIBLE we scurry around and pick up. If you take the time to giggle and make it fun, they actually kind of enjoy it!
- When someone knocks at the door, as you walk to the door, take time to pick up things as you go to make it presentable.
- Try and have a designated area OTHER than the living room for the children to play. You can always close bedroom doors!
- Have designated morning chores that will give the appearance of neatness. i.e. empty bathroom trash each day, EVERY bed gets made, all clothes get put away, dishes in dishwasher or stacked NEATLY in the sink.
When having company another source of stress is the FOOD! This can be both a financial and physical stress. At this point I want to interject to those of you that are NOT pastor’s wives, but want to be a help to your pastor’s wife, take her groceries from time to time for no reason. People don’t realize how often that pastors and their families entertain people in their home as part of the ministry, at least that is the way it is in small churches where we ministered. Many times they are hosting visiting missionaries, evangelists and church members that need help or encouragement. They also will many times host church activities such as class activities and youth nights. Any help that you can be would be a blessing! In one church my husband pastored, we had a lady that would go grocery shopping and just pick up all kinds of different things for us. Alot of the times it was meat – which is a BIG expense in the grocery budget! She would also pick up treats for the kids that we normally would never buy. Being their “adopted” grandma anyway, this always won her kisses and hugs from the kids!! It was always a blessing when this happened and it seems God always had it come at just the right time!
There are some things that I do to save money. I try to always take advantage of REALLY good sales and stock up at that time. When I am going to have company, sometimes I will ask one lady to bring a dessert and another lady to bring a vegetable, with another lady bringing a potato casserole. Then maybe I will provide the meat. This works out great, and your friends will probably be happy to help! Potlucks are a great way to get together!
Another tip to entertaining without stress is to stick to meals that are easy! If at all possible I make things the day before, such as lasagna, and then put it in the oven the day of. When entertaining, it is not the time to bring out the most complicated recipes! When making dinners for your family that would be good for serving company, make a double batch and stick the other one in the freezer. When green peppers are in, I get a whole grocery bag full, clean and blanch them all and stuff them and freeze them. I put them in 2 gallon freezer bags and take out as many as I need and put them in the crockpot. this makes a quick and easy meal for company. When apples are in I make up about 20 apple pies and freeze them and take them out and bake as needed. The nice thing is that the work is done at a time when I am not also trying to get my house ready for company! One other thing I do to save time is when I come home from the grocery store, I go ahead and cook up some chicken breasts and also brown some hamburger. I chop the chicken breast in pieces and then I keep baggies of these cooked meats in the freezer that are ready for recipes that call for them.
Our homes should be a haven to those that enter. If we are stressed and bothered about having people in, they will sense that. Just relax and enjoy your time together. Don’t get all worked up! As a mother I want my children to have access to all of these wonderful people that come into our home. If I have been stressed all day before the guests arrive, then my children aren’t going to have fond memories of the whole experience.
The most important thing to realize in all of this, is that your guests just REALLY appreciate the time and effort you take to have them over and the fellowship you will share. I am amazed in this day and age how few people invite you to their homes anymore. I think that it is a direct result of the fast paced lifestyle we live now. People seem to lead such busy lives, they don’t think to touch the lives of others. That is so very sad, especially for our children who need christian role models around them.7