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The Heart of Hospitality
I closed the door behind me and saw my sister-in-law standing there with a look of disbelief on her face. “How can you invite someone for a meal if you know we are only going to have soup and bread?”

I was living in Holland at the time and my brother and sister-in-law came from South Africa to experience their first European winter. The weather didn’t disappoint us – it started to snow on Christmas day. We were out every day to enable them to experience as much as they can and we usually came home travel weary at the end of the day.

My friend Jenny returned from her Christmas break and stopped by to say she is back and I invited her spontaneously to join us later for soup. The fact was, we only had one can of soup between the three of us, and to invite a guest was really stretching it. By the time the soup reached the table it had little meatballs in and a bit of cream for a special touch. We enjoyed it with good Dutch bread and cheese.

For a second time that evening I closed the door behind me and heard the amazement in my sister-in-law’s voice when she said “I can not believe that we had such a wonderful evening visiting and we only had soup and bread.” Sister-in-law is an excellent cook and when someone comes over to their house for a meal it is well planned and organized – just the best comes out on the table. Because Jenny was a stranger to her, she felt uncomfortable by sharing a simple meal like soup and bread. She realized that evening fellowship around the table is more important than the food that goes on the table.

Hospitality is very much my heartbeat. Over the years I have learnt many lessons and the biggest one is that hospitality is all about people and not things. It is freely giving with no hope of return. I give without expecting anything back. I have learnt to give with no strings attached, because if I don’t, I quickly find myself having a little self pity party and I can’t even lift my hand to make a cup of tea. Although hospitality is really one of my gifts, I often get myself so caught up in taking care of things that I have no time to take care of people. Sometimes it is choice, and even a bigger choice when you have to be hospitable to someone you don’t even like. I have learnt that hospitality not just refreshes or nourish the recipient, but it also refreshes and nourishes me. Many occasion I thought “now why on earth did I invite these people?” but by the time they leave I am refreshed and encouraged.

There have been times that my guests didnÂ’t treat me or my belongings with respect and kindness. I became very upset and angry with them and quickly had to learn to forgive them. Forgiveness plays just as important part in hospitality as in any other area of our lives. I have had to learn to forgive otherwise I will punish the next guest that comes my way for what the others did. I have to make sure my heart and emotions are ready to welcome the next person in.

A generous heart is such a big part of hospitality. Not just generous with our money, but with our love, our encouragement, our possessions, and our time. We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. A little becomes much if we bring with a heart to bless. I know the most hospitable family I’ve ever met that lives in Amsterdam. Since their kids were small they taught them generosity and hospitality. It is a wonderful experience to visit them, as the kids treat you with so much respect. Their house is always open for guests. Of course there is a balance too – when they are going through a tough time, or writing exams, very clear boundaries are set. Very often we are more hospitable to others than our own families. The best dishes and silverware come out when guests come, but I am a firm believer that hospitality begins at home.

Some people are holding back because they feel their house is not ready yet, they donÂ’t have the matching this or that, but hospitality needs to be looked at as sharing what we have, not what we donÂ’t have, or what we would like to have. I love pretty teacups, and I am always on the lookout for charity shops where I can find the best bargains. I love to set a beautiful table to bless my family and friends with it, but very often I am at a place in another country where I donÂ’t have them, but that will not hold me back to offer someone a drink and sit down to get to know them better. Maybe I can tell more about that in another article.

Hospitality helps us to cultivate an environment of honoring one another. Tact in hospitality is making your guest feel at home when you actually wish they were. Smile Is your home a place where your family is honoured and feels welcome? A place where others love to come to because you are at peace with yourself? We live in a society where greed and disrespect are the order of the day. I would love to encourage you to enlarge your hearts for others – yes, before we can make room at our table, we need to make room in our hearts first – and experience the joy of leaving people better than we found them.

Author: Rita Pretorius AKA Pronkertjie
Copyright. All rights reserved.
July 2006
Thanks for taking the time to put this down on paper Pronkertjie.

I have printed it out to read at leisure at home as there are points there I want to meditate on a bit longer.
Bushbaby Wrote:Thanks for taking the time to put this down on paper Pronkertjie.

I have printed it out to read at leisure at home as there are points there I want to meditate on a bit longer.

Glad you enjoyed it BB - my plan is to do a few articles on Hospitality as it is very much on my heart! Smile
Lovely read Blom :thumbs:
Thank you for that read -- and what you have said makes so much sense and is soooo true. :thumbs:
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The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. Dr. Seuss

"Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind."
-Dr Seuss-
What a wonderful article! It has really made me think. Thank you! :daisy:
Thank you!

Looking forward to the book :thumbs:
oe-la-la Wrote:Looking forward to the book :thumbs:

I am getting there.... :help:

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