31 Days of Breaking Bread: Hospitality vs. Entertaining

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.

Hebrews 131-2


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.

31 days of breaking bread

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  1. Jeannie K says

    Thank you for this series, Erin. This issue has been on my heart for awhile as I find myself rather lonely and craving closer community. I want to go deeper with people. Not just the “Hi, how are you” passing in the church hallway kind of relationships. And this begins with me opening my home and life up to others. My husband and I had a goal at the beginning of 2014 to invite a different family over for dinner once a month. Unfortunately, we didn’t keep up with it. But your blog is encouraging me to restart that. I n the past, I always felt nervous about opening my house for fear of judgement about my messy, poorly decorated house or judgement if my kids who may have not napped that day. But I’m learning that I shouldn’t fear this judgement. It doesn’t matter to me anyway. If I open my home with good intentions and desire for Christian community, God will honor that.

    Also, I wanted to thank you for your past blogs on Hayes’s DOC band. My son wore a DOC band from March through June of this year. I had already read your account of your son’s band experience, so I was much less nervous when beginning the process. Thanks!

  2. says

    I’ve never thought about it this way, but it’s so true. They actually are different. You continue to encourage me through this series. Thanks for sharing your heart and knowledge and experience. =)

  3. emily says

    I certainly needed to read that verse today. Right time and right place.
    I am very interested in this series you are doing. I need to go back and start at the beginning.
    Thank you!

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