How the Gift of Hospitality Keeps On Giving (me ulcers)

hospitality

Once upon a time (in a far away land) I took my first ever Spiritual Gifts Assessment Test. I don’t even know if that’s the official name, but I capitalized it all proper, so let’s roll with it.

This assessment revealed to me I had the spiritual gift of hospitality. It made sense to me – I loved entertaining, loved cooking for others, and loved keeping the house tidy should anyone feel the urge to stop by.

As years continued to pass, I assumed (red flag) hospitality would always be a “gift” of mine. I would always excel in making others feel welcomed, adored, and treasured in my home, with little to no effort on my part. After all, it was a gift.

Once a piece of paper told me I was something, and I held on to that as a factual, non-changing belief  of not only who I was, but who I would always be.

If I were to take the same assessment today, I would probably answer the questions in such as a way as to ensure hospitality still ranked at the top as a gifting of mine.

I’m not saying anyone ever answers tests or quizzes that way…. wait, no, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

If I were to answer it honestly, not expecting certain results or outcomes, I’m not sure hospitality would be in my top two. It might be, but it looks a lot different today than it did in 2005 when the hospitality gift was a hot commodity in my life.

Around 9:00 pm last night, Hubs mentioned our “big plans” for this evening. Lovingly, I looked at him like he was nuts. We have made all of one plan for January, and it’s for this coming Saturday.

Confused as to why I was confused, he asked, “Don’t we have supper club tomorrow?”

*LOUD INHALING GASP*

I totally forgot.

Not only do we have supper club, but we’re HOSTING. And I completely forgot about it.

I (literally) started spinning in circles, looking at the housework needing done, and trying to decide what I could even prepare as a meal for everyone.

There was a time in my life when this would have all been planned well in advance, and I would have to-do-lists for each day on what to prepare ahead of time, so everything would be ready when people walked in my door.

Now I’m saying things like, “I have to make sure the toilets are flushed, and that’s all I can manage right now.”

I swept the floor earlier and then left everything I had swept on the floor in a pile. As if the pile was the big accomplishment. Why couldn’t I just scoop up the pile and throw it away? I don’t know. I swept, I made a pile, I walked away.

The laundry needs folding. The dishes need washing. The floors – God help me, the floors.

In a last-minute meal planning rescue, I threw two roasts in the crock pot, and will whip up some potatoes and asparagus to serve alongside (with some mac and cheese for the kids).

And, naturally, in the middle of it all – I’m sitting down to type a blog post about everything I’m not doing right now.

I had a realization as I finally made my way back to dispose of the pile on the floor…. Hospitality may not be my spiritual gift anymore.

When you forget you’re going to have a house full of people who are depending on you for their evening meal, that may be a sign you’re not the most¬† hospitable person in the world.

Here’s the deal. I can’t put pressure on myself to be The Spiritually Gifted Queen of Hospitality. If the Lord has indeed left that gift with me, people will feel welcomed and treasured and cared for when they enter my door.

And I suppose that’s what it boils down to. It’s not about how clean I keep my house, how many courses I prepare for a meal, or even what I end up serving at all… so long as the people are who I serve first.

Hospitality is caring for the needs, the hearts, and the souls of the people you come across. It could be in your home, it could be at the store, it could be through an email.

Hospitality may still be my gift after all. It just no longer takes the shape of a domestically-prepared hostess-maven.

But I should still brush my teeth. If you’ll excuse me…

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