We have all had experiences when we go to someone’s house and we feel comfortable. We have all experienced visits ending with a feeling of relief at being able to leave.
Some women hustle about when they have a guest, making sure that all their needs are tended. Appetizers, cup of tea, perfectly smelling bathrooms and more. Other women forget to offer a drink, don’t have any appetizers in the house, and their bathrooms don’t smell like lavender and roses. Society would like us to believe that the first woman was an impeccable hostess and the second woman is a failure. This standard can often prevent us from inviting people into our homes.
Putting society’s expectations aside, which home would be more inviting for a friend to visit? The truth is that either of these women could make their guests feel welcome and either could cause them to feel unwelcome.
I’m not an expert on hostessing because we don’t often have company over. (We live in the country so it is often easier for us to go into town to get in some visiting at the same time as running errands.) I have, however, had the privilege of being a guest in a number of different homes.
I have learned that how tidy a home is and the speed that my needs are met have very little to do with an enjoyable visit.
I have walked out of untidy and dirty homes where I wasn’t offered so much as a glass of water and, yet, have felt like the visit was rewarding and refreshing. I have also visited houses where, according to society, the hostess did everything by the book, only to have be breathe a sigh of relief as I walk out the door. There is one main factor that determines a good hostess from a bad one: focus.
The Gospels tell us a story of Mary and Martha. Martha is the bustling hostess who gets upset with her sister for not helping out. Which one does Jesus admonish? Martha. Mary’s focus was exactly where it should have been: on Jesus.
When we have a guest in our home, they deserve the best form us. Think of the purpose of their visit: Did they come for the tea or did they come for you?
Some women are effortlessly able to put on tea and appetizers and light a candle in the bathroom without you even noticing. It feels like their focus has been on you the entire visit. Others get so distracted but doing all of their “hostessing duties” that you feel like their to do list is more important than you.
So the next time you have a guest, remember the reason for the visit. Take the time to really focus on the person, instead of the role. We may not have Jesus in our living room, but we do have someone who is made in His image. And I can guarantee that they will remember the warmth of your conversation with more clarity than they will remember the warmth of their tea!
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