I love having people over for dinner and having parties, however I hate to cook and clean to make that happen. Well, not really the cooking part, more the cleaning part.
I have come to realize though that I don't have to have the perfect house to practice hospitality. I just need a willing heart. It also doesn't have to be at my house. I can practice hospitality just by inviting someone to lunch or dinner.
I am good at imperfect hospitality. To me imperfect hospitality is going out to eat at a restaurant instead of at my house. It is not having a completely clean house or a perfectly set table.
Perfect hospitality is the perfectly clean house, a home cooked meal, and a perfectly set table. I am really not good at that.
I love practicing imperfect hospitality. It is normally spur of the moment and ends up being more fun than anything that I could have planned. (And I don't have to clean up afterwards.)
So if your house isn't perfectly clean and it keeps you from asking a friend over for dinner, think about going to a restaurant instead or even grabbing a coffee and sitting in the break room together at work. Because hospitality isn't necessarily hosting people in your home. Hospitality is about hosting people in your heart. Talk to them about God, about life, or about what book you are reading. The point of hospitality is to invest in another person and let them into your heart.
Sometimes, I find myself holding back from practicing hospitality because I get caught up in that perfect image. I have to remind myself that imperfect hospitality is perfect for me. I have to make myself let go of that "perfect" image in my head and remind myself that hospitality of the heart means so much more than hospitality of the home.
Do you like imperfect or perfect hospitality more? What is your favorite way to show hospitality?