Making A House A Home






If you were asked to define biblical hospitality how would you choose to describe it?The topic and the definition should be dear to our hearts as believers for as we practice hospitality we share what we have with those whom God brings into our lives.Biblical hospitality is focused on having a heart for service, asking our heavenly Father to creatively stretch what we have to offer refreshment to others, as well as using our time and energy to add joy to our daily lives.

Hospitable is defined as given to generous or cordial reception of guests, promising a generous or cordial welcome, offering a pleasant or sustaining environment.  Hospitality is the art of creating a generous, cordial, pleasant, or sustaining environment.  I believe most Christian women desire this type of environment for their homes and hope to be characterized as hospitable women.  However, for the Christian woman, becoming a hospitable woman requires more than just developing the needed skills in entertaining, food preparation, or home management (although, as we will see, developing these skills will free you up to focus on people as your priority).  For hospitality to be executed with love and graciousness—a Wise Woman understands God’s definition of hospitality.  The Greek word philoxenia used in the New Testament for hospitality literally means “love of strangers.”  The word has two parts—philos meaning “loving” and xenos meaning “a stranger or a guest.”  We see an example of hospitality used in Rom. 12:13 where the phrase “practicing hospitality” is included in the listing of character traits for a Christian.  A second example is seen in Heb. 13:2 (NIV) and reminds us, “do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”  The word entertain in Heb. 13:2 can be translated as “to show love to” and emphasizes the importance of not forgetting to be hospitable to strangers or guests[i], and is used several times in Scripture.  The Greek word for hospitable is philoxenos; being “hospitable” is a requirement for church overseers (1 Tim. 3:2), a requirement for Elders (Titus 1:8), and a command for all Christians to practice (1 Pet. 4:9).[1] 

Creating a Memorable Event

 Planning is the foundation of a Christ-honoring extension of hospitality.  Consider beginning your planning time with a Prayer of Consecration.  It is helpful to write out the prayer, review it each time you practice hospitality, and modify it as you mature spiritually, as well as in your hospitality skills.  Your prayer might read something like this:

Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that

challenges me to love both friends and strangers;

please help me to be excited about welcoming them into my home.

Thank you for my home—may it always be a place of

refuge, safety, protection, security, and refreshment for those who enter it.

As well, I ask that it will be a center for evangelism

and that I will at all times be ready to communicate the relationship that I share with

You to those who cross its threshold.

Realizing that I cannot extend biblical hospitality without Your strength,

I ask that You empower me so that I am a useful vessel for Your kingdom.

Thank you for the material vessels You supplied—

I consecrate each one to Your service.

I am grateful for the time and money to invest in this occasion;

please multiply both so that my guests will

visibly see Your Hand of provision.

I request that my actions and words will be gracious,

and that my guests would leave my home knowing more of You

because they have spent time with me.

Help me to always be careful to give You the praise for the positive results that come forth

when I extend hospitality and to humbly accept Your response of “no” when the

requests I prayed for are not visible.

Thank you for Your love—help me to model it as I extend biblical hospitality.

In Your Name I pray,


Large events, especially those during the holiday season are more fun for everyone when there is an absence of stress.  Perhaps these hints will assist you in creating your memorable event:

  • Seek to begin a minimum of three weeks in advance.
  • Set a budget.
  • Craft a menu.
  • Select some menu items that taste good at room temperature, so you won't have to be concerned about your hot entree getting cold, or your cold dessert melting.
  • Create and use lists including one for guests, ingredients for the chosen recipes, and one for the steps needed prior to serving the meal.
  • Invite guests.  A phone call, e-mail, fact-to-face, or a web-based program such as works well.  Be sure to ask for a confirmation (R.S.V.P.) by a specific date.
  • If guests offer to bring a dish for the meal, let them. Make some suggestions, and ask them to let you know what they are bringing so you can plan accordingly.
  • Be sure to ask if there are any dietary constraints.
  • If guests offer to bring a dish for the meal, let them. Make some suggestions, and ask them to let you know what they are bringing so you can plan accordingly.
  • Build a custom timeline. If possible word process and save it (if you don’t have a hospitality file on your computer begin one.)

o       Write down what you’re going to do when.  Post it in a visible location and check off the steps as they are completed.

o       Select meditation scriptures to keep your mind focused on the privilege of extending hospitality (begin with Romans 12:13 and Hebrews 13:2).  You may wish to consider purchasing Room at My Table: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality.  Written my Evelyn Bence this collection of 52 devotionals can keep you heart focused on the primary reason we practice hospitality!

o       Pray for prepared hearts—yours, your family, and your guests.

o       Consider these questions:

§     What can be prepared in advance and refrigerated or frozen?

§     What must be done the day of the meal?

o       Give close attention to oven times and temperatures when making the timeline for the day of the meal.

o       Consider starting your preparations as early as possible and breaking the work up into manageable chunks so you’re not overwhelmed when the house is filled with guests.

  • Meditate on selected scriptures and pray for your family members and guests.

Two Weeks Before

  • Finalize the menu and collect your recipes. Place them in sheet protectors to keep them clean.
  • Assign cooking projects to those who offer to help.  (Be sure to prepare several back-up items in the event an individual bringing a key menu item cancels at the last minute).
  • Shop for non-perishable items.
  • Meditate on selected scriptures and pray for your family members and guests.

The Week Before

  • Shop for heartier vegetables that are easily stored, such as potatoes, and any items like heavy cream that have extended expiration dates.
  • If necessary, wash and iron linen or polish silver.
  • Meditate on selected scriptures and pray for your family members and guests.

Two Days Before

  • Shop for perishable foods itemsWash lettuce leaves, dry well, and store by packing them in paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare foods that can last for two days in the fridge, like soup or a marinated salad.
  • Assemble casseroles (such as scalloped potato or green bean). They can be stored uncooked in the fridge and baked on the day of the event.
  • Complete major cleaning tasks.
  • Meditate on selected scriptures and pray for your family members and guests.

 The Day Before

  • Set the table. Collect needed serving dishes and utensils (spoons, tongs, etc.).
  • Locate any needed cooking utensils, pots, or pans (such as a turkey roaster that may be stored).
  • Complete cleaning.
  • Have a plan for storage of guest coats, etc.
  • Do any remaining baking and other preparation that can be done ahead.
  • Think through conversation topics.  How can it be directed toward spiritual topics?
  • Determine who will pray.  It is wise to confirm that the individual is willing to do so before the meal is ready to be served.
  • Chill beverages if possible. If refrigerator space is at a premium, fill your washing machine with ice cubes and nestle the beverages in it.  Just run the spin cycle afterwards to drain the melted ice.
  • Confirm that you have adequate ice.
  • Review Event Day Time Table and make any needed modifications.
  • Meditate on selected scriptures and pray for your family members and guests.

The Day of the Event

  • Begin the day with prayer.
  • Give the house a last minute check, especially bathrooms.
  • Follow your time schedule, adapting where necessary.
  • Relax and enjoy your guests.  Don't spend the meal running back and forth to the kitchen and end up missing out on the Event you have prayerfully created.
  • Store all “left-overs” properly to avoid food-borne illness.

The Day After

  • Offer Thanksgiving to your heavenly Father for the event, realizing the memories take time and energy to create.  The most impactful are those done in His Strength (Philippians 4:13)!
  • Affirm your family.
  • Restore you home to “pre-event” condition.
  • Evaluate the event:

o       What worked well?

o       What would I correct next time?

o       Did I stay within my budget?  Note any suggestions for further events.

o       Add your own questions.  Seek input from your family.

  • Correct time table on computer document.  File with lists, budget, meditation scriptures, and recipes in a Hospitality Notebook.


God has said, “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:24).

Therefore, I may boldly say, “I am a woman designed for a purpose.”


[1] Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God. (Chicago: Moody, 2003), 209-10.

[2] Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. Practicing Hospitality, the Joy of Serving Others. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 141.