Why I Stopped Entertaining People In My Home

We’re re-posting some of our favorite blog posts from 2015. Kathy’s post from October 5, 2015 is a much needed reminder as we seek to minister through inviting others into our home.If you were to interview my grown children about childhood memories of growing up in a pastor’s home they would probably tell you some of version of this:

“Mom always lost her mind when company was coming over.”

It wasn’t pretty. So yes, I do remember freaking out about TONS of very unimportant issues, like decorations, salad forks, place cards, ridiculous amounts of food for a buffet and making a not-normally-very-clean-house ridiculously spotless. (“Mom why are we cleaning the dog’s kennel?)

What went wrong when I entertained people in my home?

(Warning: Here comes some brutal honesty that will not shed good light on me as a human being.)

  • Appearances were more important than having an atmosphere of love and grace.
  • The details of a meal overshadowed hearing the stories of our guests.
  • Most of the people I invited over were church people and usually there was some end game benefit in hosting them.
  • Being a great hostess was an identity I craved.

So when these misguided priorities are your unstated goals in entertaining you will freak out and your kids will see it. Which is a pretty big reason to stop entertaining people in your home.

Why You Should Stop Entertaining People in Your Home

The Bible says, “Practice hospitality”instead. Is that different from entertaining? Think: Martha Stewart = Entertaining Bible = Hospitality

So what is hospitality then?

Look in the Bible for some clues:

  • “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you – for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14
  • Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
  • “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:9-10

Look at Jesus:

  • Jesus practiced hospitality as he took the lead to feed the multitudes.
  • He accepted hospitality from Simon the Pharisee and a Pharisee ruler.
  • He prompted Zacchaeus to be hospitable and the Emmaus hosts as well.

Eventually I began distinguish the difference between entertainment and hospitality. Biblical hospitality primarily relates to providing for the needs and welfare of the travelers, strangers and aliens. Look at the language in scripture: “stranger,” “foreigner,” “sojourner,” or “alien”. Those can be LITERAL “foreigners” — those from a different country or different ethnicity. Or they can be FIGURATIVE “foreigners” — those from a different faith, different worldview or different lifestyle. Hospitality is making people feel like they’re not strangers, like they belong. In fact the very nature of the teaching about hospitality commands us to gather with the people we are most unlikelyto gather with. Unfortunately most of my gatherings looked like people who were just like me! And often had an element of gain to me. Confession–very little of my entertaining has looked Biblical. And that needed to STOP.

Have you made the same error?

Don’t miss part two on this topic: How I Started Pursing Hospitality.

Published December 29, 2015