Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How HGTV and the Food Network Have Killed Hospitality

Ok, I admit my title is a bit of an exaggeration, but I believe it because I am seeing a general decline in hospitality among Christians. What would modern culture have us believe about hospitality?
  • Gourmet food
  • Multiple courses - serving fancy drinks and hors d'oeuvres as your guests come in the door with swanky music playing, of course!
  • Perfectly clean home
  • A home with modern styles and decoration
  • Beautiful table set with lovely china, place cards, centerpiece, tablecloth...
  • Candles and flower arrangements strewn throughout
  • Pretty, new furniture
Isn't that what is on TV, in cookbooks, and magazines? Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with a dinner party with all of these lovely amenities and comforts. The problem comes in when we think that the only way we can extend hospitality is if we first have all of them.

I have littles. Our furniture will be stained and scratched. Candles everywhere would be dangerous. Unless I lock my children in a closet for half of the day, there will be toys strewn in the living room, and the meal is going to need to be simple. Also, we choose not to live like the proverbial Joneses, laden with debt so we can have the latest and greatest furnishings and decorations. We live in our home. All four of us work, play, eat, sleep, and learn in our home nearly all of the time. We keep our home mostly neat and clean, and I think it is rather comfortable, but I don't think anyone would say it is magazine worthy. I do not apologize for this, and I hope that you won't apologize for your home either.

I actually had a woman say to me once that she really wanted to have us over, but they needed to replace the carpets first. We still haven't been invited over, and that was years ago. I have eaten in homes with dirt floors where the children sat on the floor next to the table to eat and everyone was happy and comfortable. I really don't care about the state of the carpets.

When we allow materialism to encroach and let personal hangups and perfectionism to prevent us from practicing hospitality, Satan wins. Does that sound rather extreme? I don't think that it is.

Hospitality is not just a good idea or a suggestion, it is a command. It is a requirement for elders (Titus 1:8, 1 Timothy 3:2), widows indeed (1 Timothy 5:10), is a command to all (Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2), and must be done with the proper attitude (1 Peter 4:9). In my Bible dictionary, it gives the following definition:

Hospitality: act of entertaining guests with warmth and generosity

Having people into our homes, friends and strangers alike, is a part of being a Christian, and it's something we all need to practice. As women, and the keepers of the home, it will primarily fall into our domain. I didn't do a lot of studying or research for this post, mostly I'm just spouting off the top of my head. I write to encourage myself to keep on working and doing better, seizing each opportunity that I see.

Four things come not back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, time past, the neglected opportunity.
Omer ign al-Halif

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.
William Arthur Ward


  1. So true! I almost appreciate being invited into "humble" homes more than any other kind, because it makes me feel comfortable. Sometimes super "nice" homes can make me feel like I don't belong there or constantly afraid I might ruin something. "Humble" homes encourage me to open up my own humble home!

  2. Love it and I could not agree more!

  3. Really worthwhile thoughts to ponder. Sometimes we think we don't have the time or resources to be hospitable to the folks who do really need it because we're too busy working on how to impress the ones who don't really need it with our "hospitality". -amy


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