I read about this in another blog (don’t remember which one, but her name was Ashley, I think) and decided it was a book that I really needed to read. My lovely husband is much more hospitable and social than I am. I love to entertain small groups of friends, but I continually struggle with being generous in all sorts of arenas; especially having UNEXPECTED guests. I am consciously working at having a stocked home and flexible plan so that I can, when my husband who knows how I am, calls to check before bringing guests home, I can nearly always say yes.
It kind of irritates me to see the bible verse for every single idea and thought the author portrays, but I got a lot of food for thought out of it once I started to skim past all the parenthesis. The book is divided into 8 area areas:
- the character of people providing hospitality (i.e. you)
- providing hospitality to strangers (meaning widows/orphans, the poor, missionaries and foreigners, among others)
- the importance of providing hospitality of your family FIRST
- the management of your home so that you are perpetually ready to be hospitable
- your home, which somehow turns into a detailed chapter on how to give a proper tea. Which is, oddly enough, not my cup of tea–so I skipped it.
- what hospitality to others can be and how to be ready for it
- the things to think about when entertaining cross-culturally
- and how to use hospitality as a ministry with information on large groups.
When I looked back at my notes and the chapter titles, they are a bit, well, not what you would think they would be. Which anal personality I am, kind of irritates me. BUT it was a really good book for me. As I’ve said, I have a tendency to be on the stingy side.
One of the things that hit home was the history lesson of how important hospitality was viewed in biblical times. Unlike the US, where people are more worried about imposing on others and respecting each others space, in God’s time hospitality was required. People would stop on random peoples doorsteps and wait until the master of the house would invite them in while they were traveling. Of course, it was a two way street. Once you accepted someone’s hospitality, there was a bond of friendship that lasted for generations and you were even supposed to provide hospitality to your enemies.
The other thing that hit home was that hospitality is not entertaining. They are different. Entertaining is where you plan a menu, decor, guests and/or activities and you attempt perfection. Hospitality is taking what you do have, however meager, and offering it to others who need it. It’s an acknowledgement that everything you have belongs to God and it should be used for His glory.
The last big thing that I got out of this book was that there are different seasons of life. Hospitality should stretch you a bit, but not interfere with your family and other obligations. This is one of the few books for godly living that actually acknowledges that when you are home with littles, you aren’t going to be entertaining all of the time. Instead, you should look to your husband for guidance, get the children involved and provide hospitality in smaller or more simple ways — like taking meals to the sick or grieving, or providing snacks to the groups you should be serving. Finally! Permission to not be superwoman in this season of my life!
At the end of each chapter there are several questions/activities and recipes to apply the material in the books–it would make a great small group bible study. God-willing, I will be sharing my “homework” assignments from this book in the coming weeks. I just haven’t decided if it will be before or after the Mother’s Rule of Life (or Household Notebook).
This was a great book for expanding my idea of hospitality and how hospitality can be a ministry to people in any season of life. It just requires creativity. I would definately recommend reading it. I got this book on ILL (Inter-Library Loan). Apparently there are only 14 libraries in my library’s system that even had it. It was truely a work of God that I was able to get it and read it. So pick up a copy and prepare to be blessed!