Sometimes I wonder if I should even spend time on hospitality posts. The 21st century American culture is marked by extreme casualness, where The Young People (when did I get so old?) don’t even date – they “hang out.” In this casual culture, the idea of hospitality seems old-fashioned. It’s all, “Come as you are and be with us as we are. Don’t mind the mess. And certainly don’t require any extra effort from me.”
But this morning, I received some confirmation that maybe we should continue looking at this hospitality thing. The devotional I’m reading focused on Rebekah’s first meeting with Eliezer, a servant of Abraham. Abraham had sent Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac, his son. Eliezer, seeking divine guidance, prayed that the woman that offered to water his camels be the one God had chosen. That’s when Rebekah shows up and offers to do that very thing.
This was a big deal because one camel could drink 40 gallons of water. Multiply that by ten and you have a half-day project! Why in the world would a woman offer to do such a thing? The devotional states,
“In Old Testament times it was customary to offer water to a stranger; it was known as the law of hospitality.”
So there you have it – Rebekah offered to do such a generous thing in order to be hospitable. I’d say that she wasn’t afraid to expend a bit of extra effort.
What do I take away from this?
- Be willing to put some effort into making my guests feel welcome. I’m no Martha Stewart and have to be realistic in what I can do, but by golly I’ll do my best to pick up the toys and make sure there’s toilet paper in the bathroom.
- Offer my guests something to drink when they arrive. This is something that I forget to do sometimes and then always feel like a jerk when I remember. But it’s worth remembering because it’s an opportunity to directly serve my guest. And it’s not a half-day project, so there’s no reason that I shouldn’t do it.
Speaking of beverages, let’s look at a couple of beverage-related items that would be useful to any hostess:
It’s nice to have an ice bucket on hand when you have a group of people over. You can fill it with ice from your ice maker, but I personally like to get a bag of ice from Sonic. I’ve also used a salad bowl as an ice container.
This is also a nice-to-have for large get-togethers. Fill it with ice and nestle cans/bottles of soda or juice boxes into the ice.
Do you have any thoughts on the “law of hospitality”?