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The spice of life ~
not a problem, a privilege

This is my spice cabinet, and also where I keep the coffee and tea, which merits it's own shelf since we consume so much of it on a daily basis.

I'm posting photos here because at his own initiative Larry re-organized this cabinet for me yesterday, after getting me a spice rack/organizer for Christmas.  Now I can see all of the spices better without sorting through them all just to find one thing.  (Thanks, babe!) 

I love cooking and entertaining, as most anyone who has known me for longer than 2 seconds knows!  In fact right now early this morning I'm preparing to have a crew of people over this afternoon after church.  There will be fourteen people here for Sunday lunch/dinner.  We've decided to take the ham bone and some leftover ham and do a roaster full of cabbage, potatoes and carrots, and some bread and  desserts.

I am passionate about hospitality, and I believe there is no excuse for Christians to not practice it.  I will come back to the subject of excuses in a moment, but just wanted to give a few Biblical references about hospitality:

In Genesis 18:1-8, Abraham is shown caring for his guests.

In Genesis 14:31-33, Laban is seen welcoming Abraham's servant.

2 Kings 4:8-10 gives us the example of the Shunamite woman who opened her home to Elisha.

In Matthew 10:9-15, Jesus commanded His disciples to shun any home which did not show them hospitality and equated hospitable treatment of others with treatment of Himself.

Now, let's talk about excuses I frequently  hear:

"My home isn't nice enough or big enough to have anyone over."

No problem.  It's not about how big your home is or what it's furnished with.  It means so much to people that you've invited them over, and hospitality is simply giving the best of what you already have.  God never expects us to give what we don't have -- only what we DO have.  Larry and I have been entertaining since we first got married and lived in an efficiency apartment.  Seriously!  We always invited people in our congregations who had much nicer homes or furnishings that we did, but they always appreciated us inviting them in and I have never felt that anyone looked down on us for not having an equal amount of stuff in life.  Keep in mind some people with very large homes and a lot of money still don't entertain and would be really grateful to have an invitation, most times.  A lot of those people who have a lot of material things in life still have lonely hearts and will be so grateful for your invitation.  Hospitality is about giving from your heart and welcoming people in.

"I'm not into setting out the china like you are, and I don't even know if I have even four dishes of any kind that match, or silverware." 

No problem -- use paper plates and plastic ware.  In fact, that's what I'm doing today, believe it or not!  I am tired from setting out all the fancy stuff on Christmas day and want something simpler today.  So that's what we're doing.  Our conversation will be the centerpiece anyway, not the plates we eat off of. 

"I don't have the money to have anyone over.  Providing food for my family is all I can manage right now let alone buying more for someone else."   

No problem -- invite friends to bring a dish and share.  We do it all the time, whether we have the money or not.  It's fun to collaborate on a dinner, together anyway.

"I hate to cook.  And, I usually don't.  Most nights after work I eat Easy Mac from the microwave."

No problem.  Your local supermarket has made it easier than ever to entertain.  Most of them have a whole frozen food section dedicated to people just like yourself.  Let me give you a tip for dessert...Marie Callander's Razzleberry pie from the frozen food section is absolutely out of this world.  Bake that in the oven, put on a pot of coffee and invite a few friends over.   It's the best right after it's come out of the oven. 

I can give you an answer for any excuse you might give about hospitality but one thing I want you to notice is that every solution I gave started with the words "no problem."  Hospitality is not a problem, it's a privilege.  They say variety is the spice of life, and a great way to spice up your life is to invite a variety of friends over and share good food and conversation.   Hospitality is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship with friends and family ~ spend time growing in your walk with other believers ~ and love unbelievers right on into the Kingdom of God.   Many people that I have personally brought to Jesus started by an invitation to come over and share dinner or coffee.  "It's just another way we can be a light to everyone around us.  It's a privilege to be a light, not a problem.  

It's such a privilege to...
love people
spend time with them
grow with them
sit at the table with them
laugh with them
and do life together.


Cassandra said…
what about my excuse: that my house is less than spotless...I mean WAY and laundry piles and LIFE everywhere...i find it difficult to feel hospitable (unless i plan for it--spontaneous drop in's almost cause me to hyperventilate!!) when my schedule with school and kids keep me with little free time to do the kind of cleaning I feel company warrants...just being honest...
Melissa said… area I use to LOVE to do until the kids came. I am so exhausted from keeping up with them it's difficult to have that hospitable attitude. I still very much want people to come over and just sit and enjoy coffee or if I can get them to come over!
I do have to say I love the spice shelves! I need one of those organizers!
Leanne said…
I SO need a spice rack!

I've had to get less anal about my house being perfectly spotless before I can invite someone over...I can usually do a quick "5-minute clean" if necessary, and if all else fails, shove everything in my bedroom [there's only ONE person I am interested in entertaining in there ;o)], close the door, and deal with it later.

That razzleberry pie sounds perfect - my pies taste good, but they're ugly, so that may be a fantastic dessert solution for me...

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