It's the most wonderful time of the year - right!? Or, are you stressed out about the meal that you have to cook next week for the group of people that you are trying to impress?
Our Monday night bible study is wrapping up 1 Peter by Jen Wilkin next week at our annual Friendsgiving Feast. Last week, Jen taught 1 Peter Chapter 4 to us and her words could not have come at a more appropriate time.
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling"
- Jen went on to teach us the difference between hospitality and entertaining:
"Entertaining involves setting the perfect tablescape after an exhaustive search on Pinterest. It chooses a menu that will impress and then frets its way through each stage of preparation. It requires every throw pillow to be in place, every cobweb to be eradicated, every child to be neat and orderly. It plans extra time to don the perfect outfit before the first guest touches the doorbell on the seasonally decorated doorstep. And should any element of the plan fall short, entertaining perceives the entire evening to have been tainted. Entertaining focuses attention on self.
Hospitality involves setting a table that makes everyone feel comfortable. It chooses a menu that allows face time with guests instead of being chained to the cooktop. It picks up the house to make things pleasant but doesn’t feel the need to conceal evidences of everyday life. It sometimes sits down to dinner with flour in its hair. It allows the gathering to be shaped by the quality of the conversation rather than the cuisine. Hospitality shows interest in the thoughts, feelings, pursuits and preferences of its guests. It is good at asking questions and listening intently to answers. Hospitality focuses attention on others.
Entertaining is always thinking about the next course. Hospitality burns the rolls because it was listening to a story.
Entertaining obsesses over what went wrong. Hospitality savors what was shared.
Entertaining, exhausted, says, “It was nothing, really!” Hospitality thinks it was nothing. Really.
Entertaining seeks to impress. Hospitality seeks to bless.
But the two practices can look so similar. Two people can set the same beautiful tablescape and serve the same gourmet meal—one with a motive to impress, the other with a motive to bless. How can we know the difference? Only the second of the two would invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind to pull up a chair and sip from the stemware. Our motives are revealed not just in how we set our tables but in who we invite to join us at the feast. Entertaining invites those whom it will enjoy. Hospitality takes all comers." - Jen Wilkin
To learn more about Jen and her bible studies, please visit https://www.jenwilkin.net/.
Sarah Kathryn Marlowe
The Supper Table
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