I think there’s a common connection between hospitality and entertaining. But entertaining is typically done out of the need to impress others.
By definition, entertaining is amusing and enjoyable. Hospitality is the generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.
But what is Biblical hospitality? It’s love of strangers. It’s loving people that may never reciprocate or repay you. It’s loving people that have nothing to offer in return.
I actually got my Masters degree in Hospitality Management back in 2005. We didn’t study love of strangers or how to open up our messy homes or our messy hearts. We didn’t study how to approach the struggling friend or stranger and how to invite them in. We studied how to impress guests, and how to create a strong, recognizable brand. We studied marketing and finance and how to impress people with impeccable hospitality.
And I definitely want the guests in my home to have clean, fluffy towels and plenty of soap and toilet paper. But entertaining can be a source of pride. The host or hostess receives praise and that’s plenty of encouragement to do it again. By humbling myself and inviting into our “just as it is” home and family, we’re giving up the praise.
Hospitality doesn’t expect reciprocity. True hospitality invites and opens the doors and listens to the hearts of its guests and understands that there may never be a return invitation.
It’s an interesting balance of wanting to make your guest comfortable and wanting to give them a place of grace where they can have the freedom to let their walls down. And I think it starts with creating that environment as the hostess.