The characteristics of a woman possessing a hostess’ heart were modeled by my mother. She could, and often did, invite someone home from church because she had not only prepared a tasty meal for her family, but enough extra to include others.I grew up “helping in the kitchen” as a young child; later, as her health failed, I assumed much of the food preparation responsibilities under her supervision.When I enrolled in college and chose Home Economics as my major I realized that I had learned the food preparation skills at home; my college classes helped me align the academic principles with my existing skills.
Regrettably, too many Christian young women do not enjoy the type of Titus 2:3-5 relationship that I experienced with my mother—in fact, in twenty-first century society such an experience is the exception rather than the rule. The first time that we offered our Meal Management class at the college we found that our students’ concept of “home cooked” differed greatly from ours. The Professor carefully taught the students the menu planning and approved their menus before they shopped. What appeared on paper to be a “home cooked” meal was, in reality, a collection of precooked items that were simply “assembled at home.” While we all choose to use convenience foods from time to time, as good stewards of our resources and guardians of our bodies—that are literally temples of the holy spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17)—it is important that we know how to practice having a Hostess’ Heart without the aid of a “commercial maid.” Knowing the skills allows the use of convenience foods to be a management decision rather than a necessity.
What Is The Heart?
As Christian women we are concerned with two forms of the heart . . . the physical heart and the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart provides nourishment, sustenance, and energy throughout the entire body. If a weakness, either by breakdown or disease, occurs within the heart, it could lead to weaknesses in the rest of the body.
The spiritual heart is the center of thinking and reason (Proverbs 3:3, 6:21, and 7:3), the emotions (Proverbs 15:15, 30), and the will (Proverbs 11: 20, 14). It is the source of whatever affects our speech (Proverbs 4:24), sight (Proverbs 4:25), and conduct (Proverbs 4:26-27). The condition of our spiritual heart determines our spiritual health and ultimately controls how we respond to biblical instruction about developing the heart of a hostess.
Proverbs teaches us that we have either a wicked and foolish heart or a righteous and wise heart. The wicked and foolish heart despises correction (Proverbs 5:12), is proud (Proverbs 14:14, 18:2, 12), lacks discretion (Proverbs 12:23, 19:3), and is hard (Proverbs 28:14). Standing in stark contrast is the righteous and wise heart that receives commands (Proverbs 10:8), has wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 14:33), seeks knowledge (Proverbs 15:14), and learns and grows (Proverbs 16:23). Which type of heart do you have?
Responding to the Biblical Teaching About Hospitality
Since the scriptures are explicit about believers extending hospitality, let’s look at how the woman with a wise heart responds to the biblical teaching about hospitality. We will use the letters that form the word HOSTESS as our guide to establish a biblical foundation.
H—HOME—the place where we practice hospitality
Just as heaven home is being prepared for us, so our earthly homes are to be prepared for those who belong there (John 14:2).
O—OPEN—the attitude of our hearts in offering hospitality to others
Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6 and Acts 10:34 all remind us that God shows no partiality. As His daughters, we are to model His example and be willing to entertain a variety of people.
S—SUBMISSIVE—responding to God’s instruction with a joyful spirit
Romans 12:9-13 instructs us to not merely entertain our friends, but to “pursue the love of strangers,” the literal meaning of hospitality.
T—TEACH and TEACHABLE—to impart knowledge and skill; capable of being instructed
Titus 2:3-5 states that the older woman’s examples of skill and godliness give older women the right and credibility to instruct the younger women in the church. There are two important facts about this instruction: the older women are to be willing to share and the younger women are to be willing to receive instruction.
E—ENCOURAGEMENT—the conversation of the hostess is to inspire her guests
Proverbs 25:11, 15:23 offers a description of well-chosen words while 1 Timothy 3:11 reminds us that women in leadership are to refrain from gossip (we are all leading someone so no one is exempt from this instruction! J).
S—STRESS-FREE—an absence of physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension
Remember that fret and worry indicate a lack of trust in God’s wisdom, sovereignty, or power (Philippians 4:6,7).
S—SPONTANEOUS—acting without effort or premeditation
John 10:10 reminds us to purpose to live an abundant life and that means letting others into “your own little world.”
Earlier in this post I posed the question, “Which type of heart do you have? Perhaps this paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 will assist you in responding to the question. Join me next week as we look at some practical tips to cultivating a Hostess’ Heart.
THE HEART OF THE CHRISTIAN HOSTESS
If I am a Christian woman who teaches other women about their scriptural responsibility to practice hospitality but lack the motivation to apply the teachings to my life, I am arrogant
(1 Corinthians 8:1).
And though I know about the women of the Bible who practiced hospitality but fail to emulate their model, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 10:11).
If I pursue Christian ministry and stay up all night preparing a theologically correct Bible study but fail to open my home to others, I am neglecting the New Testament commands to pursue hospitality (Romans 12:13a).
A Christian hostess is gracious (Proverbs 11:16) even when others are not.
She believes that the biblical instructions to pursue hospitality are as relevant today as the day they were written and seeks to integrate into her daily life the teaching of home bein2g “a prepared place” for her family, friends, and strangers (John 14:2).
A Christian hostess gleans insight from God’s Word that motivates her to develop an open heart to entertaining a variety of kinds of guests (Romans 2:11),
a tongue that speaks wisdom and kindness to them (Proverbs 31:26),
and a submissive spirit that provides hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9).
She takes seriously the mandate of Titus 2:3-5 and intentionally acquires instruction in time management, family finance, nutrition, food preparation, and the art of hospitality so that God’s Word is not discredited.
As for professional contacts, they will diminish in importance; as for speaking opportunities, they will be presented and the content forgotten; as for strategic social events, they will occur and the memories will fade; but the woman who develops the heart of a hostess will be blessed because she chose to fulfill the New Testament commands to practice hospitality (3 John 1:8, 1 Timothy 3:1,2 and Titus 1:7, 8).
So, both the Christian woman and the Christian woman who has the heart of a hostess abide in the Christian community; however, the Christian woman who has the heart of a hostess cultivates a lifestyle that reflects her values and a character aligns with the Word of God.
If you would like a sample chapter of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook simply click on “Contact Pat” and request your copy.
Blessings on your week as you focus on making your house a home!