“Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
1 Peter 4:8-9
After my husband’s injury, we received a heap of generosity from our friends, family, and neighbors. Everything from childcare while I went to be with my husband in the hospital, to lawn care, to money for groceries because he missed work.
I was incredibly humbled by their generosity. But even more, I was convicted about my lack of generosity toward my neighbors. Heck, I can only name about 5 people on my street, and they’re all from the same family. So, I prayed, and I studied scripture, and I read The Gospel Comes With a House Key, and God changed my heart.
I’m not a huge people person. I enjoy spending time with my friends, but the friend-making process has always been incredibly draining for me. Especially now as a mom of 3 young kids, working on establishing a working farm, running a microscopic home business, and homeschooling my preschoolers, I find no pleasure in small talk.
I’m not in the market for casual acquaintances at this stage of life. I need to know that people are as invested as I am in the friendship and that we have each other’s backs! You know? A conversation about the weather is not friendship. Knowing I can count on (and be counted on) when life deals heavy blows is what I’m looking for. My neighbors delivered in our time of need, and it’s time I invest in, at the very least, learning their names.
I decided that my window to hospitality would be with food so, I took Penzey’s advice, “Love people– cook them tasty food!”
But again, I’m not a people person. And my husband is even less of a people person than I am. So how can we make this happen?
Breakfast on the patio, that’s how!
Here’s my solid strategy for hospitality novices.
1.) Leverage your strengths
Breakfast is our specialty. With it chickens laying in full force, I decided that breakfast was a great place to start. My family is also most consistently tempered in the mornings. Dinners are chaotic and unpredictable, so best to stick with what we do well.
2.) Start small
Being hospitable doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget making a 5 course dinner for people you don’t know. A simple breakfast, muffins, breakfast bake, fruit, coffee, and milk is easy, affordable, and TASTY! you don’t have to invite the entire city block either. (I started with 8 of the houses on my cul-de-sac, but you don’t have to be as crazy as me.) Opening the door with something simple can pave the way for greater generosity in the future.
3.) Expect the best, plan for the worst.
This is my motto in most life situations. Just because you invite 10 people doesn’t mean they’ll all accept your invitation. On average, it takes 14 times for someone to accept an invitation. So don’t be discouraged if no one shows the first time- keep asking! They’ll come to see you as consistent and value your interest in them. On the other hand, you don’t want to run out of food for people, so make more than you think you’ll need. You can always freeze extras or, hand deliver them to neighbors who are homebound, or couldn’t make it to your gathering! For us, this looks like 3 dozen blueberry muffins, a giant bowl of my favorite fruit salad, a 9×13 breakfast casserole, and plenty of coffee.
4) You get return on your investment
Financially speaking, that’s not always true. But spiritually speaking, it’s always true that you reap what you sow. Sow generously, and reap a generous harvest- whether in the present life, or the one to come. When you view everything you do in light of eternity, whether or not you receive anything back now is irrelevant when you consider receiving praise from the Lord later.