I have a confession: I can get nervous when I entertain guests. It could be an informal or impromptu visit by a friend, or it could be a planned gathering such as Thanksgiving or a birthday party. When the moment arrives, I get the butterflies in my tummy. But, the good news is that the more I entertain, the less nervous I have become.
Hospitality is a natural gift for some. I envy those who can whip up a meal on a moment’s notice, or always have a clean and ready kitchen and living room. So, instead of always having envy, I decided to change my attitude. Why? Because… envy is a symptom of pride. What I needed was a good dose of humility.
Humility is the gift of genuine love for others. It is the process of stepping aside the “me-ism” for the needs of others. It is allowing the pedestrian to have the right of way (without grumbling); it is pouring a cup of coffee for your spouse before your own cup; it is graciously accepting someone’s praise even though it may feel undeserved.
In my path toward growing up I am a late bloomer of hospitality. I have watched how other women effortlessly set a table, offer a beverage or pastry, or just open their door with a smile. My husband has been my biggest cheerleader in this area. Walking alongside his own mother during entertainment venues of his childhood he learned many attributes of hospitality. And, now, one of my sons is eagerly showing interest in the art of hospitality.
The secret I have found is combining the art of hospitality with humility. It is serving others from the heart. No matter the occasion, it is just like giving someone a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, topped with a smile and a hug. It is taking the focus off of my imperfections, and turning the focus on to the occasion and to the guest of honour.
This is one of life’s hardest lessons I have learned. Silly as it may sound, this is true for me. I am thankful to have learned this through loving friends and mentors. I am thankful it is a gift that can be acquired, and then paid forward in love.