As I begin a new series of installments on the subject of Christian hospitality, I turn to the subject of “entertaining.” Many people confuse “entertaining” with “hospitality.” I hope to show the clear contrast between these two, very different, acts. At the end of these series of blog posts, I feel confident that you will see the freedom that flows from genuine hospitality. This will contrast with the bondage that entertaining can bring into your life.
With the wealth of my background that I have shared with you in the previous six blog posts, you can see that opening my door and issuing welcome may come easier for me than it does for others. Yet, I have discovered that even an innate inclination to hospitality must be honed and refined, imbued and filled, if it is to be more than concern about centerpieces, menus, table settings and spotless rooms.
For Christians, hospitality is a marvelous gift of the Holy Spirit given so that we may minister to this dying society. If our hospitality is to minister, to impart to each who crosses our threshold something of the presence of Christ—if it is to transcend the human and deal in the supernatural—there must be an agony of growth, a learning, a tutoring at the hand of the Holy Spirit.
For some, like myself, hospitality is as natural as breathing. For others, the practice must be acquired. For all, the gift must be nurtured. From this instinctive human ability, nurtured in the greenhouse of my family, the Lord has developed a spiritual aptitude in me. My hospitality, which participates in ministry, becomes a catalyst for the miraculous.
Important lessons have been learned through these years of continual open house. The first began in our honeymoon apartment when two friends stopped by, unannounced.
“You mean you spent the evening on the front porch and didn’t invite them inside!” my mother exclaimed in dismay. “Karen! Haven’t you heard your father insist I must never put my pride before my hospitality?”
My mother reminded me of an important precept. I invite you to return to this blog, as I continue to share my thoughts on the contrast between “entertaining” and “hospitality.”
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.