Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:9
Hospitality is a very important aspect of making a home a refuge. I have a few practical suggestions that I think you might find helpful. I am trying to practice these within my own home. Every family is different, so feel free to find what works for you according to your abilities and needs. Please comment below with any ideas for other mams trying to do the same.
I think it is important to make a goal of how often you can and will show hospitality.
For my family, our goal is every pay period. That would be bi-weekly for us, so every other week, just about. For you, it may be once every other month or even twice a week (or more).
There are a lot of factors to consider such as finances because feeding another family can be expensive. Come back next week because I plan to show you how it can be done in a very frugal way.
If you have multiple children in various activities throughout the week, it may be a little more tricky, but I do highly encourage you to simplify your life as much as possible so that you can show love through hospitality.
Who Should I Show Hospitality to?
There is no easy formula for who to invite over. I still really battle guilt on Sundays when I look around my church and see all of the families that we still have not had a chance to get to know or show hospitality.
It can be overwhelming, but I recommend having a pow-wow with your husband or family to come up with a plan.
1.) Show Hospitality to your Neighbors. For us, we recently decided to first invite people over that lived close to us – our actual neighbors, rather than our church family.
2.) Show Hospitality to your Church Family. After moving through the neighborhood, we plan on going through our church directory. If your church does not provide a directory, make your own list of members or even guests who regularly attend your church.
Consider inviting people over in alphabetical order! This will help you to get to know each person and gives you a goal that is easy to keep up with.
3.) Show Hospitality to those outside of the church. Most of us have friends and family that we know from other places. We can still show hospitality to them as well!
When we first moved to the area, we visited several churches for an extended amount of time and fell in love with families that we wanted to keep as friends even once we realized that wasn’t going to be our church home. We want to nurture those relationships through regular hospitality, also. So, we have church friends and friends outside of church over often.
4.) Show Hospitality to those who do not know Christ. Here is where my heart is wide open and I’m going to be really real with you – I struggle to invite over those that I know who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
For one thing, everywhere I go, I’m surrounded by believers (at least, those claiming to be believers and walking as believers). I do think we all have an area in our life that we can find an opportunity to reach out. Maybe one of these examples will get you thinking of someone that you can minister love to:
- Homeschool Co-Op group
- Your Job/ Husband’s job
- Book Club
- Even the Grocery Store (hey, I have a friend that made a really great friend because they shared grocery days and both had large families!)
Trying to manage a system will keep you organized and accountable, but I would like to encourage you to keep your heart focused on showing love. This is not about showing off your Martha Stewart skills as much as it is an opportunity to meet others’ needs and be a blessing.
Making the Home a Refuge
I will openly admit to you that the house cleaning is my personal obstacle in this ministry. I dread it. I obsess about it. I set unrealistic expectations of cleanliness, then get frustrated when my 2 toddlers run behind me immediately undoing what little bit I was actually able to accomplish in a day!
Seriously, HOW do they do that!!!?? They are like walking messes with faces of angels.
Well, here’s a simple eye-opener about that for you. How often do you find yourself as a guest at someone’s home looking around for a speck of dust or mentally judging them for not having a clean home straight out of Better Homes and Gardens?
I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how clean or not clean someone else’s home is, so give yourself a little bit of grace and try to approach house work with just a little bit more humility.
I like to stay in the middle, I don’t want my guests being repulsed by a serious lack of hygiene or overwhelmed by clutter… however I don’t want them to feel as though the world would collapse if a child’s cup spilled, a diaper needed changing, or shoes were left on.
Our goal should be to provide a comfortable home that would feel as a refuge for the evening for our guests.
Keeping the House Clean
I try to have a simple plan of rotating chores so that my home can be company ready within about an hour’s notice. Now, with that said, my new baby is only 3 months old and we’re still trying to get back into the groove of things.
- Make sure toys are put away
- Wipe down kitchen sink/ counters
- Wipe down bathroom sinks/ counters
- Generally tidy up
- *Try* to go to bed with an empty kitchen sink, mine’s not empty this morning, but we’re battling a stomach bug right now, so I’m overlooking it!
- Monday- Laundry, clean kitchen, clean floors
- Tuesday- Laundry, clean bathrooms
- Wednesday- Laundry (catching a pattern, 6 kids!! 5 boys– lots of socks!), bedrooms organized to mommy’s standards
- Thursday- Laundry, clean windows
- Friday- Finally, put the laundry away! Clean floors, dusting, change bed sheets
- Saturday- I like to make sure things are maintained and pick a special project, like a closet or bookcase that needs tending to
Now, I know that there are chores that need to be done in addition to this, like moving the fridge and sweeping behind it, or deep cleaning rugs, and dusting fans, (etc!!!) but those aren’t weekly things and can be fit into the months that follow according to your home’s needs.
By following the simple house cleaning guidelines above, your home should stay in running order and make hosting less stressful.
I have a lot of friends that really love to follow the Fly Lady, so that’s a great resource for getting tidy as well!
If I keep to the kind of cleaning schedule above, which we try to, then on days when company is coming over, it generally rolls like this:
- put laundry away a day or two early
- sweep the floors
- make sure that the bathroom is up to standard
- spray or diffuse something that gives the house a nice fresh scent.
If you came to my home, it wouldn’t be perfect. If you wanted to, you could find dust or dirt with very little effort and my husband’s love for reading always results in piles of books throughout the home although, you can tell that he tries to keep it to his desk.
My home is not perfect, but there are a lot of small people living here and I feel like we can keep it tolerable this way.
Put Little Hands To Work
“Many hands make for light work.”
Do you have a large family?
Wait…. do you have any children that are old enough to understand you when you speak to them? GREAT!!! Congratulations!! You have helpers for the tasks at hand!!
Please teach your kids how to clean and divide up the work for them. You may feel that you are helping by doing all of the work yourself, but in the long run, you are robbing your children of the opportunity to learn important life skills.
Do you want to make trips to their homes to clean when they are grown? NOPE. Teach them!!
Don’t expect perfection from your children, but teach them concepts like:
- “Whatever you do, work it with all your heart as working for the Lord and not for men”- Colossians 3:23
- “Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?” Proverbs 6:6-9
- “Lazy hands make a poor man, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” Proverbs 10:4-5
It is easier for me to walk through the house and clean everything to my standard, and there are days allotted for that, but our children need to learn these skills.
Age Appropriate Chores:
- Toddlers are great at dusting things in their reach and putting toys away (after much instruction, of course).
- Older preschoolers love to wipe counters and clean tables (shaving cream, anyone!?) as well as finding things that are out of place and trying to put them back “home”.
- Older kids can dust taller things, clean bathrooms, oversee the toddler clean up, sweep and help with laundry!
I love these “Filling Hearts While Cleaning: 5 Minute Devotionals for Families” cards available here at Talking Mom2Mom! It contains 20 colorful chore cards with with corresponding Bible lesson that help explain the attributes or “characteristics” of God while also teaching children how to accomplish basic household chores. It is a resource that will help you as a parent to both to teach your child life skills and give them Biblical truths to hide in their hearts
I hope that this post is encouraging to you. It has reminded me of my goals and the need to work with my kids and prepare them for life by teaching them these basic, but important housekeeping skills.
Don’t forget to check out the sister post Practical Hospitality from the Heart.
Do you enjoy showing hospitality to others?
What methods have helped you keep your home tidy with the little ones?
This post was written by my friend Maggie from Sweet Little Toppings. Make sure to pay her a visit and check out her lovely handcrafted items for your family.
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