October 6, 2014

Hospitality To-Go

After 10 wonderful years as a pastor’s wife, I’m starting to re-think hospitality. I still plan to do it—the possibility of entertaining angels unawares? sign me up, sister!—but I’m considering new ways to pare it down to its essential sweetness.

At its heart, hospitality is sharing life. But the way I’ve sometimes practiced it, it’s been more of a barrier to a shared life than a bridge. Elaborate food, a spotless house, a frazzled me. Sometimes I can Pinterest-ize even my hospitality—presenting a lovely outward picture while I stand stressed and sweating behind the scenes. I remember a time when someone came over for a meal, looked around my house, and said, “Well. I’ll never live in a house this nice.”

So, I’ve begun to consider ways that I can practice hospitality with more emphasis on sharing. Sometimes, this means making the food as simple as possible (soup in a crock pot, for example.) Other times, it means allowing guests to contribute by asking them to bring some bread or a gallon of Southern sweet tea. And some of the sweetest times of sharing recently have been the result of a moveable feast.

More and more often, I’ve started taking hospitality out of my own home and to the homes of those who—by reason of illness or age—can’t easily leave. I’ll prepare the meal in my own kitchen and then pack it up, along with my family, and take it to someone else’s home. Sometimes I invite other people, too. Once there, we sit together at the table and enjoy food-fellowship and conversation and shared life.

This is good for me. For one thing, it is an opportunity for humility. The food is never as tasty or hot or elaborate as if I had carefully prepared and served it in my own home. And, away from my home, the emphasis of this kind of hospitality is on the act of love and not the outward decoration.

I think, too, this is good for others. Eating at their table, on their plates, surrounded by their objects, the meal is a mutual sharing. No Marie Antoinette recommending hypothetical cake from on high, each of us has condescended to serve the other out of love. We want to be together, to look into each other’s eyes, to care for each other. And we are going to make sharing life possible, together.

I’ll still be opening my own home, of course, but in the next ten years you’ll probably find me moving around a bit more, too, taking my shared life (and food) wherever it is needed.


  1. As always, beautifully said! I think hospitality can encompass variety when we share our homes and ourselves. I remember a sweet friend that once brought me a small loaf of banana bread. It was yummy, shared with love and thoughtfully presented in a basket with some fruit. Her hospitality made my stay in a local conference center much nicer than any Pinterest meal could have done.

    1. Oh, and I love slow-cookers, too!!!! Glad to hear someone else is using them in serving others. :)

  2. I'm so glad that you are mentioning this as a viable way to offer hospitality!! As a wheelchair user, it is often easier for friends to come to my home than it is for me to get into theirs (along with their stress about whether doorways are the proper width or things are accessible for me). My home is nothing grand, but it is definitely love that is shared when a friend stops by with food to share dinner with me and my family!

    1. That's so good to hear! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Megan, now you can share Southern Sweet Tea with your new friends in New England. I enjoyed your talk on prayer last weekend. Looking forward to joy of weekly prayer with a dear sister in our church. Thanks for being the Lord's instrument for change. Press on for our Great King!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Donna. Hope to share a glass of Sweet Tea with you one of these days!


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