Humble Hospitality

Have you looked at the calendar? The holidays are approaching and it’s time to plan the hospitality you plan to extend. I can almost hear you groan when I say the “h” word. Before you quit reading let me make this clear: hospitality is not about having a frou-frou party with petit fours, a stringed quartet softly playing Bach, and guests walking around in period clothing. I am referring to good, old fashioned humble hospitality.

Today it is in vogue to entertain and to it with panache! There are numerous programs showing us ways to make a perfect soufflé and design the most intricate table-scape for your party. In all the shows I have watched, and I do love a good cooking show, not one has told me how to cultivate humble hospitality.

So, in an attempt to rectify this oversight, I want to boil humble hospitality down to three parts for you to use if you’re having a quiet, intimate afternoon tea with friends or a thanksgiving banquet with your entire family! Here are three ways to ensure that your hospitality remains a humble act of service.

Who We Are Lingers in Their Memories

Preparing your Heart Karen Mains says, “Hospitality is not what we have; it is who we are.” Mothers, the first lesson on hospitality you can train your daughters on is the “who we are” lingers in our guests memory so much longer than “what we have”. This summer, after a speaking engagement in Denver, my husband, I, and another couple were supper guests of a large family. What I clearly remember about this family was their lavish love for the brethren which spilled over on us in the form of simple food, sweet conversation, and preformed music they had written to worship God. As I think back on that balmy June evening, I realize they gave us the very best of what they had through who they were and it bore the unmistakable fragrance of the Lord.

As we train our daughters to be homemakers, we want them to comprehend this; most of the work that takes place for entertaining takes place in the hidden portions of our heart. A heart attitude of humble hospitality can be difficult to cultivate and, from my experience, the two things that get in the way are pride (my home isn’t good enough) and selfishness (I don’t have time). How do we rid ourselves of these pesky obstacles? I suggest that before opening your home, purposefully give this event to the Lord and ask Him to bathe your thinking in what is true. The verses I meditate on to set my mind straight are 1 Peter 4:9, Romans 12:10-13 and Hebrews 13:2. It is only when every thought is taken captive and replaced with what is true that we can change having to fix a meal to getting to serve a meal to your guests.

Preparing Your Home

My husband and I have lived for 26 years in a big 93 year old farmhouse which has been in the family for four generations. Shortly after we moved into this home, we  handed ownership of it over to the Lord.Our house is His home. We have dedicated this space to be used for His glory. Since that day we have hosted countless guests overnight, Bible studies, church services, meals, potlucks, baptisms, birthday parties, and holiday meals. After my heart is in order, I then make sure my home is in order. Here is another training opportunity for your daughters in homemaking. Work with her to prepare the home for visitors. Extending hospitality is beneficial for the whole family on so many levels! Before the party:


1. Counters and stove-top in kitchen clean and clear.
2. All the dirty dishes and pots and pans washed and put away. Dishwasher empty.
3. Kitchen trash emptied.
4. Refrigerator space available. Quick wipe up of any spills inside.
5. Kitchen floor swept.


1. Table totally set.
2. Plan on how to serve food. Buffet? Have a flow in mind. Family Style? Have bowls, serving utensils and platters neatly stacked for plating food.


1. A quick cleaning of the toilet and surrounding area with a spray cleaner.
2. A quick cleaning of the mirror, bathroom counters, and sink.
3. Toilet Paper/ Tissue – even if they are half full, replace it with a brand new one.
4. Brand new hand towel, filled hand soap dispenser.
5. Light a candle.

The Food

Preparing the Food Planning and preparing the menu is the point where most of us just throw up our hands and wonder what we have gotten ourselves into! To make this part of the process less painful, develop a repertoire of easy to prepare in advance meals. Note the words EASY and IN ADVANCE. For me, the whole key is to have as much done the day before as possible so that I can then focus on my heart, my prepared home, and my guests.

Here is one of my favorite, no fail, and do ahead recipes:

Meme’s Roast

• 1 5-6lb beef roast
• Cream of mushroom soup
• 1 pkg. instant onion soup
• 1 ¼ cup water
• 1 pkg. baby carrots
• 2 onions quartered

Place roast in slow cooking crock. Nestle baby carrots around the roast. Mix together mushroom soup, instant soup, and water. Place quartered onions on top of the roast and carrots. Pour soup mixture over all. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or cook for 8-10 hours on low. Serve with brown and serve rolls, mashed potatoes, and corn. One of my family’s favorites!

Humble hospitality involves careful preparation of your heart, your home, and the food and leaves your guests with a clearer picture of who/whose you are rather than what you have.

Do you all have any tips to share with us regarding how to make hospitality easier?

by SHELLEY on OCTOBER 15, 2010

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