About the Author

Denise is a lover of words and the Word. She's the author of #DeeperWaters and the Bible study series #WordWriters.

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  1. Denise,
    I once heard a very wise speaker define the difference between entertaining and hospitality. Entertaining places the focus and emphasis on YOU…see my clean home, my creative decorations, my Martha Steward cooking skills? With Hospitality the focus is on the other person. Come in, carve your initials in the dust on the coffee table, let me pour you a nice cup of tea and tell me how YOU (the other person) are doing? Shifting the focus shifts our motivation and ultimately how welcome our friends feel in our home. It’s always stuck with me…Great post Denise…I have many a cooking “fail”, but I can pour a mean cup of tea or coffee and listen lol.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev, thank you for sharing “entertaining is about Me, hospitality is about You.” I will remember this.

      • I heard this when I was thirty…25 years later, it has still stuck with me…:)

    • Love this Denise. I am so with you on this one! I’ve struggled for years feeling inadequate in this area. My heart was in it but I just didn’t feel like I had that gift. Bev, that is a wonderful Word….thank you!

    • Bev, thank you for this tender Word on right focus 🙂 I am so grateful that the Lord never fails to gently reset my focus outside myself and back on His love. For that is where true joy is. Hugs 🙂

  2. I believe there are many master chefs out there who long to have your gift of loving others in such gracious ways! If you feed them, without first welcoming them with a hefty dose of genuine Christian love and warmth, they likely will not hunger for the truly important things of the Lord.

      • Also, you never know what will become of impromptu moments of hospitality. I’ll never forget a snowy day in Greenville, SC when I could not go to work. (In the South we get all excited over one or two flakes!) I noticed a new neighbor whom I had not yet met walking to another neighbor’s home. (Later learned it was her brother’s home.) I called to her and her little girl and invited them to come inside and enjoy some hot chocolate! During our getting acquainted we were both delighted to learn that several years back she and our son were both students at the same time at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AR! We became close friends and shared many happy times. And additionally, I learned her brother had attended LeTourneau University in Longview, TX where my husband graduated, and the town where I lived! Never suppress that nudge to “do it now.”

  3. Denise, I greatly enjoyed your post this morning. I am also into watching people enjoy themselves in my home. I’m actually all about the cooking, especially preparing meals from other sides of the world. My weakness is wanting my guests to enjoy and go home before I tire. Lol. I’m a two-hour tops kinda girl when it comes to having company or interacting with people in general. The other side of making people feel welcomed is they don’t want to leave! My prayer is to learn how to relax, and also gently end the occasion…in love of course.

    Thanks for showing me how we don’t have to be perfect at the whole experience, but willing to allow the best of what we have bless someone else.

  4. Denise,
    You had me at ginger root! I just pictured You staring at that tan, mangled lump wondering what on earth to do with it. Like ginger, there’s more to us than meets the eye. Thank you for showing us how God uses us – broken and imperfect – when we have hearts willing to love and serve. I’m going to feature a link to your post for my readers this week. I know they’ll be blessed to read what you have written

  5. Denise, I give thanks to the Lord and to you for this wonderful posting today. I have been struggling to get back out there and love my neighbor in a place where hospitality is not practiced well, to let the Lord fill me up with the love I need to keep opening my heart to pour out for others. Listening to everyone here is such a grace to my worn heart 🙂 May each of us see that we can all be the Lord’s hands and feet of love in a smile and open hand to others 🙂

  6. Yes, creating a space in which others feel welcomed. You and I should team up because, for me, the cooking is easy but the cleaning and getting the house presentable . . . Always there is the feeling that I’m not ready!
    Thank you for affirming the importance of sharing our home and our love with others.

  7. Denise,
    Love how you have defined hospitality. I need to be better about welcoming people when I’m out and about, rather than hesitate because of how they might think of me. Sometimes it is a fine line!

    A few years back on a beautiful snow frosty morning, I noticed a family out taking photos by a group of trees. So I stopped and offered to snap a few photos so they could all be in the picture. When I told my daughters, their reaction was “Mom, you were intruding on family time. That’s just creepy.”

    Oh, well! I reminded myself that they could have said no.

  8. I really identified with this post!! We have been married for 37 years, and this is still the one part of hospitality that I find challenging! It all goes back to my school days; I didn’t have a lot of confidence then, and cookery classes filled me with dread. As a result, I usually made some stupid mistake, like leaving out an important ingredient. My cookery teacher took a dislike to me, and paraded my mistakes before the whole class. Needless to say, it became a very big hang-up for me! Over the years, I have learned to become more laid back about it all, but it is still the part which spoils the enjoyment of having friends round. We can’t really afford to buy food in, so I have persevered, and have had to realise that it is the fellowship which matters the most. I’ve always had a soft spot for Martha in the Bible, but Mary got the commendation which mattered.

    • I’ve always had a soft spot for Martha too. 🙂 I’m so sorry you had a less-than-pleasant experience in cooking class. And I totally know what you mean about buying food — it’s not always possible for us too. But a true space for hospitality can always be created with a little love and attention. That’s best part. 🙂

  9. I love this article! I am so glad you found your perfect ballance!! Hospitality is definitely my calling and most of my jobs and volunteer work has centered around it. I do not cook. at. all. I would never have even attempted that casserole! It is not necessary in any way. Although many people do not realize this. I’m so sorry you had to go through the not-good-enough feeling to get there.

  10. Isn’t just like us humans to focus on the outwardly instead of the inwardly? I have been served some of the best food in the coldest of homes and it is not the food I remember. Hospitality encompasses how we love and it sounds like you love really well!

    • Wow, Jessica. You make a really good point. Sometimes the “best food” is in the “coldest of homes.” But hospitality is about welcoming people with warmth. 🙂

  11. I can cook regular food, I make a great pot of chili, but I agree with Bev about hospitality, even though I want everything just so. I overran myself a few years back doing home Bible study. I had to clean, make lunch and prepare the lesson and teach the study lots of the time. And then there was a day when a neighbor came and sat and talked and just relaxed on my couch, no food, I don’t even think I gave her a glass of water. But she felt welcome and wanted and said there was such peace here. It is great to have donuts, dinners. But church is about Jesus, not entertaining. I was thinking, what if He came to my house today. He won’t mind the folded laundry on the sofa.

  12. Thank you SO much!!! I hate cooking but have a burning desire to invite people over. I’ve occasionally worked up the nerve to slave over meals that cost me my love for people in the process. Being an introvert doesn’t help because then I’m fine to wait a year before attempting the duty of torture again; I’m so done with that! You’ve given me courage to do what I can and not be so preoccupied with my weaknesses. Deeply grateful!

    • I so understand what you’re saying! By the time I’m done “preparing” a meal, I’m pretty spent…except the socializing has only begun! Whew. It’s a labor of love for sure. But quality time with people is always worth it. 🙂

  13. Denise,
    God made us to be in community together. It doesn’t matter if the food is homemade or store brought. it is all about the company and friendships we make. We should put our focus on the people we want to be around and not the “perfect house, food, etc.” I enjoy the company of good friends with or without food. When we have meals at church I try to make something, but always bring a gallon of iced tea or some other drink.
    Blessings 🙂

  14. Thanks so much. for sharing your story.. We are definitely hospitality sisters.. I don’t particularly like to cook either so I .to have learned to just buy the stuff and make folks welcome. Gathering women is my gift and I love impromptu times when several gals are available at the same time. Those turn out to be the best times in my apartment, And fortunately they don’t mind that I have t dusted this week or run the vacumn. Good friends accept you as you are and I feel the same about them. God is so good and it’s wonderful to be able to be yourself with christian sisters. That’s family. Blessings to you. Loved your sharing.

  15. Oh, how I can relate! I’m a terrible cook. I was cracking up at your ginger root story! I recently decided to use fresh garlic cloves rather than substituting garlic powder like I usually do, and I had to watch a YouTube video to figure out how to uncover and mince garlic!

    It’s only recently that I’ve become secure enough to invite people over for pizza. Because inviting them over for pizza is better than not inviting at all! And I’ve found a go-to meal for taking to others–look on Pinterest for honey-lime chicken enchiladas. They are easy and sooo delicious!

    Thank you for encouraging me and helping me to not feel alone in this struggle!

  16. Wow, I have done EXACTLY THAT myself with the ginger root. LOL I knew how to peel and use it from watching TV, but I just never got around to doing that recipe, and it withered and molded in the fridge until I finally gave up and threw it away.

    I hate to cook. I WANT to like to cook. I enjoy it when I DO get something right and my family enjoys it. I like watching cooking shows. I really enjoy other people’s cooking! 😉 But I really just don’t like cooking. *sigh*

    And I don’t like having people over because I always feel like the house isn’t clean or straight enough, besides just simply being an introvert and a (sort of) loner. I do not have the hospitality gene…but the Bible doesn’t exactly give any outs to anyone on showing hospitality, it seems. It just says to do it. I admit I fail miserably in that department.