Encouraging, Living, Reaching


What My Mom Taught Me About Hospitality

What My Mom Taught Me About Hospitality

My mom passed away a month ago. I still can’t quite believe it. She was young enough…only 66. (don’t hate me from heaven, Mom, for sharing that publicly.)

My mom left behind a legacy of hospitality. On facebook, in messages, in cards, almost every person (hundreds of people) mentioned the remembered times my mom had them over for a meal around her table.

My mom exemplified hospitality and I’ve still got a lot to learn from her example.

  • Start now with what you have now. Share what you have now. Don’t wait for a bigger house or a longer table; prettier dishes or perfect circumstances. If you don’t put to use what you have right now, you won’t use what you have later when everything is just right.
  • Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception of visitors, guests and strangers. So…
  • Build community and deep relationships around your table. And…
  • Invite those who have nowhere else to go. “Friendsgiving?” My mom invented that. I can’t remember a Thanksgiving that didn’t include more than just family. We always had people over who had no one else to celebrate with.
  • Invite the not-invited. My mom invited the big families that rarely got invited by others. She was not intimidated by feeding crowds of 20 or more. And for the record, it wasn’t until the past 15 years that my mom had a house with more than one bathroom.
  • Hospitality is not primarily about the food. It’s the love that goes into the preparation and service that matters, not the show stopping dish. Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be nourishing. The meatloaf or the steak. Five courses or two. It’s the shared experience around your table.
  • Hospitality is a habit. Weekly, monthly. Set aside a specific day of the week to invite people over.
  • Be spontaneous.
  • Add a leaf to the table. Use another table (or two).
  • There is always room. There is always enough. I think for planners/controllers, spontaneous hospitality can be an act of faith. But when the Holy Spirit prompts, we must obey. Thankfully, we serve the God who Provides.
  • Flip side…it doesn’t have to be big. Invite a single person or a couple. Just open your home and your heart to someone else.
  • Hospitality is not optional. For believers, it’s a command.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Romans 12:13 (ESV)

What have you learned from someone who does hospitality well?

Bernadette Veenstra

Bernadette was saved at a young age and has been involved in assembly work for the past 20 years. She and her husband have 4 children and they have been home schooling for the past 12 years. She is an avid blogger and you can find her over at barefoothippiegirl.com.

8 Responses to What My Mom Taught Me About Hospitality

  1. Marsha L Blair

    Thank you for this encouragement, and I am so sorry for your loss. I have been convicted lately of the need for hospitality, and your article gave good suggestions and guidance. Your Mom would be pleased!

  2. Ann Bjorlie

    Lovely tribute. Our family of 11 was one of those invited on a Thanksgiving! I was astounded with her generosity. AND she had a very small house for that number including her own 10! Not sure if everyone was born at the time! I’m old and cannot remember! Bernadette, you might know about when that was.

    • Bernadette Veenstra
      Bernadette Veenstra

      I can’t remember. You all came over more than once. =) I’m betting the Thanksgiving was before Kathryn’s birth though.

  3. crawfordjpaul

    My parents were so similar. I loved it. Always people in our house. This is a great article.

  4. Great article, and a great topic. My wife loves showing hospitality, and it’s brought us such joy over our 30 years of marriage. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:-
    Always make a little bit more food than you need, in case an uninvited guest shows up.
    If you feel you don’t have enough food you can always add an omelette!
    Share what food you have, even if it doesn’t seem like enough.
    Even when guests aren’t with you, have your meals together at the table, this will keep you in the habit of being able to entertain visitors.
    Make a special effort to invite out-of-town visitors you meet at church, or visiting missionaries. These can be a real blessing.
    To husbands: Never be embarrassed that you don’t have enough, or don’t feel prepared. Never discourage your wife, or criticize her cooking food in front of guests. People will still appreciate your hospitality in unexpected ways.

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