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Practicing Hospitality on a Dime

on October 1, 2013 by Jami Balmet 6 comments

This post is part of my series on The Joy of Hospitality: Practicing the Biblical art of serving others! You can follow along and read all posts in the series HERE.

A common concern about practicing hospitality is the cost associated with it. This is a concern that I know all too well.

Practicing Hospitality without breaking the bank
Photo by Elin B

When I envision practicing hospitality, I picture a beautiful buffet table laid out with fancy appetizers, a wonderful dinner, yummy sides, and delicious desserts! The table is finished with beautiful centerpieces and fancy tableware {complete with amazing serving dishes for each course}.

After dinner we move into the living room where the host brings out a regal tray loaded with a beautiful tea set complete with matching cream and sugar jars.

I don’t know about you…but when I picture doing hospitality like this in my home, I think about all the money! Sure I would love to host a dinner like this but with our budget and my priorities with little kids…it’s simply not possible right now.

Tea Party Hospitality
Image via Sherry’s Rose Cottage

Hospitality Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

“Many people don’t practice hospitality because of the expense. You don’t, however, have to impress people with sumptuous meals or be the best entertainer in your church. Hospitality is to be a service to others, not an ego inflater.” Hospitality Commands, pg. 51 {emphasis mine}

When practicing Biblical hospitality, we must remember that it’s about service to others, and not about ourselves. Do I want to impress people with my amazing cooking skills and my perfect kitchen? You bet I do!

But that’s my sinful pride talking. When you put on love and humility, those things don’t matter. What matters is welcome that new family in your home. Making them feel welcome and at home at your church.

What matters is sharing the Gospel with the new neighbors. Invite them into your home and share the Good News with them. Bring meals to the newly single mom who just needs some support and love…even if that means picking up a pizza on your way.

“Hospitality from a Biblical perspective is to recognize that God is more interested in caring relationships than the mold behind the shower curtain…It need not matter if we live in a single-room apartment or a split-level ranch, the only real requirement is allowing God to use our lives and our possessions…Our homes and our lives are indeed the most powerful combination of ministry to our world.” ~ Hospitality with Confidence, page 9

 Frugal Tips for Hospitality

Hospitality is not about having the perfect house or showing off your cooking skills. Hospitality is about meeting people where they are and learning how you can best serve them – whether that be with a warm meal or friendly conversation.

Hospitality doesn’t need to be expensive. You don’t need special skills or resources. All you need is a willingness to serve and the motivation to go do it!

“Hospitality is about a heart for service, the creativity to stretch whatever we do have available, and the energy to give the time necessary to add a flourish to ordinary events of life.” Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others,  page 15

Host a Simple Dinner

This is our favorite form of hospitality. I love having people over to our house {plus it’s easy to put our babies to bed at 7:30 and still have the rest of the evening to enjoy our guests}. But having people over for dinner doesn’t have to be expensive fancy.

Make a simple meal of spaghetti and meatballs with a simple side salad. Or have breakfast for dinner and make french toast with fruit. The real reason you are getting together is for community, so don’t put all your focus on the food…it doesn’t matter that much!

Host Dessert and/or Coffee

This is another favorite of ours! If we have had a really busy week {or month} but still want to invite new guests into our home, we will invite them over for dessert and coffee. Sometimes I make a yummy chocolate cake. Other time we have snickerdoodles and muffins.

Keep it simple and serve the dessert {could even be store bought cookies if you are busy} and offer coffee or tea. Easy and you get to sit around and enjoy conversation and maybe a game or two!

I particularly like doing this when I have women over to my home during the week. I like to connect with women both older and younger than myself. Make a few scones and muffins once a week doesn’t put a huge financial strain on our budget and allows me to weekly have women into my home for coffee and dessert during the day.

Meet at the Park

Since we currently live in an 800 sq ft house, we don’t have a ton of room to invite large families over. So we propose meeting on Saturday at the park. Each family brings their own lunch {and I usually grab a dessert} and we have fun with our kids at the park. That way it isn’t a strain on either family!

Host a Potluck

We have a large Bible study we are part of with five other couples {plus children}! Hosting a potluck outside is a great way to show hospitality even when you don’t have a lot of room or money! Ask each couple to bring either a main or side dish and you instantly have a great party!

Ultimately, hospitality is a form of service. It’s a service that God has called all Christians to. Will it cost a few dollars extra to make spaghetti for another family? Yes. But God calls us to be good stewards of HIS money and one way we do that is by serving Him with our finances.

Read more in this series:

Come with me on a journey to discover the Biblical art of serving others in The Joy of Hospitality Series!

Do you want to learn more about hospitality?

You can sign up for my FREE 3-part video series on hospitality. We begin by first starting where any Gospel-Centered discussion should start: with the Bible! We then take that Biblical definition of hospitality and practically apply it with a beginner’s guide to hospitality – everything you need to know to have the confidence to start extending hospitality – today! Sign up HERE for free!

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Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. This is so great! It’s very refreshing spiritually to be able to serve others the way Jesus would have. I mean, I know Jesus probably didn’t serve tea in china, but how great is it he was able to bless those around him with fish and bread?! Thank you for this reminder!

    marriedtomrwright.blogspot.com

  2. I love this Jami – what a great reminder, with some useful tips! I always feel so refreshed after I hang out with other ladies or families, I don’t understand why I don’t strive to do it more often! I think time and just the uneasiness of unfamiliar situations can cause hesitancy (like, “what if I have nothing to talk about?” is a big one!). I love the idea of coffee and dessert especially, since we are very tight on our finances during this season.

    Blessings,
    Nicole @ WKH

  3. So glad I found this series… I love the idea of hospitality, and it is one of my goals for my home, but the actual practicing of hospitality doesn’t happen as much as I’d like. Your point about it not needing to be expensive is a good reminder, not to let superficial reasons (whether budget or others) hold us back from extending hospitality. I am excited to check out the rest of your series!

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