Summer—a time for casual dining comprised of sizzling grilled meats, cool refreshing beverages, numerous fresh vegetables, and a plethora of luscious fruits. A perfect time for opening our hearts and homes to others and an opportunity to offer biblical hospitality. However, many families are less than happy when the lady of the house extends hospitality because she is such a wreck before the occasion occurs. Often her lack of organization and unwillingness to involve others in the planning and preparation process encumbers her with an unnecessary burden.
If we are going to successfully practice biblical hospitality, we must be “led by the Spirit,” or as Galatians 5:16 states, we must “walk in the Spirit.” The doctrinal message of walking in the Spirit is found in Galatians 2:16 while the practical application is Galatians 5:16. “Walking in the Spirit” literally means keeping in step with the Spirit. It is a very practical form of living, not a mystical disconnection from reality. As a godly woman in progress, we will display that we are walking in the Spirit when we extend hospitality by
- bearing others’ burdens through ministering to them in times of grief, remorse, sin, and troubles of all kinds (Gal. 6:2; Col. 3:12; James 5:11).
- sharing blessings that combine accompanying our praise to God with practical acts of kindness (Heb. 13:6; James 1:27; 1 John 3:18).
- rejoicing with those who receive blessings and honor by occasions of celebration (Rom. 12:15; 1 Cor. 12:26).
- being willing to wear the physical and emotional bruises that can be associated with opening our hearts and homes to others. Paul’s “large letters” served as a reminder of the physical “bruises” he bore because of his service to Christ (Gal. 6:11). Physical and emotional bruises may be acquired as we offer hospitality when
- we experience weariness or emotional fatigue (and sometimes both) from having guests in our home—even when we have used good time management skills.
- we receive unwarranted criticism.
- there is no evidence of gratitude.
- it appears there is no fruit for our labor. It is incredibly important to remember that even if we receive a bruise, that does not mean we should not have practiced biblical hospitality—and if we allow it, the bruise will heal without a scar.
- purposing to abstain from the fleshly actions described in Galatians 5:17-22.
- controlling our thoughts, actions, clothing, and how we use our tongue (Phil. 4:8-9; Col. 3:17; 1 Peter 3:1-4; James 3:1-12).
- choosing to cultivate the fruit of the spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23).
Philippians 4:6, 7 teaches us that fret and worry indicate a lack of trust in God’s wisdom, sovereignty, or power. Matthew 6:25-34 is a reminder that our heavenly Father has everything under control—we simply must acknowledge and act upon that truth. First Peter 5:6-7 paints a word portrait of our loving heavenly Father inviting us to transfer all of our stress to Him! As you contemplate how you might cultivate a stress-free response to hospitality this summer, begin by purposing to delight yourself in the Lord and mediate on His Word. I believe you will find that it’s a great antidote to anxiety (Ps. 1:2). Then develop strategies that will make extending biblical hospitality a delight rather than drudgery!
Recently Kelsey planned a shower for her best friend. She held it at the home of one of the church members. Several days after the shower the home hostess called me to share what a blessing it was to observe Kelsey integrating the training she received in her Family and Consumer Sciences classes to execute a stress-free ambience that created a memorable event for all in attendance. She shares her strategy in this month’s contribution:
Can’t you just smell summer? It’s just around the corner and brings with it favorite aromas—sunscreen applied by the pool or beach, hamburgers on a grill, and the sweet smell of watermelon. They all remind us that the season is filled with fun get-togethers and events! I am blessed to be at that time in my life when I’m beginning to be the event planner instead of just the attender!
Organization is the critical key to turning these sweet summer visions into stress-free realities. With some basic planning strategies, we can create smooth, organized events! Creating a detailed Event Planning Sheet is my favorite method!
- Since prayer aligns our purposes with God’s purposes, prayerfully place the event you are considering in the hands of your loving heavenly Father (Matt. 6:9-10).
- Pick the event type, location, time, theme, and goals. All of these will contribute to the course of your plan.
- Paint the vision. I do this on a computer so I can easily edit my growing vision. I like to create my plan in outline format.
- Begin by designating Roman numerals (I, II, III…) to basic categories such as guests, food, decorations, games/activities, tasks (including delegated tasks), and/or whatever other categories you may need.
- Fill in the details. Under each category in the second outline level (A,B,C…), fill in basic details. For example, under decorations, list all the locations you want to decorate. Under food, list all the foods and beverages that will be served, etc.
- Fine tune. In the third level (1,2,3…) and onward, begin getting very specific with the details. The more thorough you can be, the better. Do not assume you will “remember” to get ice that morning. Write down all the details, from the big things, like invitations, to the small things, like making sure you have enough trash cans.
- Begin an Event Manual by filing your Event Planning Sheet in a notebook. Place a blank Event Planning Sheet at the beginning of your Event Manual to share with others who would like to be “mentored” in organization by using your strategies.
Some items will be repeated in your outlined lists, but that’s ok! Having your Event Planning Sheet, with each section containing all the needed details, should diminish your stress level. You want your plan to be detailed enough so that if you are unavailable the day of the event, you can pass it on to someone who can successfully move your “vision to sight.”
Once your Event Manual is created, add supplemental lists to your appendix at the end. This might include:
- A list of needed items. Review your Planning Sheet and make note of every item that you need, as well as the location where it can be acquired. This might include a friend’s house, grocery store, or perhaps your place of employment. This section may become messy and will constantly change as you locate all the necessary items. However, as long as you maintain the list, you will be able to stay on task. You can always “clean it up” before filing it since it is saved on your computer.
- A Time Schedule to organize all the tasks of the day before and the day of the event with a place to check-off the task once it is completed. There is nothing quite as frustrating as when people ask how they can help and you have no idea what to suggest. Include every task needed to set-up, execute, and clean-up after the event (i.e. when ice should be added to the drink dispensers and who should be responsible for that task are examples of what would be included on the Time Schedule). Print out as many copies of this list as needed to make sure each helper knows their responsibilities, and post one on the refrigerator or a prominent cabinet.
- A place to evaluate the event noting what worked and what needs fine-tuning before replicating the event.
- A space to thank your heavenly Father for allowing you the privilege of extending biblical hospitality (James 5:16; 1 John 5:14-15).
Organization takes time and planning, but the results are always very rewarding! With practice, event planning becomes an automatic response. So, are you ready to “sizzle” into biblical hospitality this summer?
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. This was to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” (Romans 3:23-25).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Because of Jesus, guilt and the fear of punishment no longer weigh me down.”
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!