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How to Use Your Gifts to Enhance Hospitality


I’m here to call you to deeper hospitality, even if you believe you’re not a natural at it.

Because we need authentic hospitality (take one look at the news…our world is every shade of crazy and I’m convinced opening our hearts and homes is a beautiful first step towards restoration). Our world needs you, and all you have to offer.

“Each should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:9b

Know what that means? Whatever gifts you have — they’ve been given for the use of one another. We can’t hide them away and assume they’re meant only for ourselves. We must use them to the best of our abilities. We’re given gifts to infuse facets of God’s character into the hearts and minds of those around us.

Our gifts enhance hospitality.

It’s time to play to your strengths!

You make hospitality more meaningful when you play to your strengths and use your gifts. This will keep you from exhausting yourself on the unimportant as you invite people to gather.

But how do you do this? Here are some practical examples:

If you’re an incredible cook (but terrible gardener) and your kitchen is a place of coziness for all who gather there, spend your time making your famous homemade bacon carbonara. Let the weeds, bushes, and runaway flowers take over the yard.

If you’re an incredible gardener (but terrible cook) and your yard is a place of supreme peace for those who gather there, spend your time enhancing that atmosphere and artfully trimming the bushes. Pick up some cookies from a bakery and a jug of tea from the grocery store.

If you’ve had a long week at work and the thought of cleaning your house a little bit for that big party brings more stress than peace, ask your friends to bring lawn chairs, and invite your hubby to torch up a bonfire in the back yard. (Ah, the gift of delegation.)

If you’re awesome at igniting laughter and drawing people into conversation (but don’t have time to prep a meal before everyone comes over because your daughter’s soccer practice let out late), set out some board games and order a pizza.

If you’re great at hiking but don’t necessarily enjoy hosting folks at home all the time, take them out on the trails and share granola bars. You could also climb to a beachy dune and enjoy chips and dip.

Too exhausted for planning a gathering but have the gift of listening? Let people bring lunch over and help them feel valued as you listen to their stories.

You get the idea.

It’s easier to open our hearts to hospitality when we’re channeling the gifts God has given us to use, when we’re being ourselves and not a knock-off version of Martha Stewart perfection.

For me, using my gifts looks a lot like opening my home, gathering people together for creative experiences, fellowship, and food. I hope to do a lot more of this as the fall and winter approaches.

Two weeks ago my college-bound cousin visited and we crafted dorm room decorations for three days straight and consumed vast amounts of bacon. By the end of her visit she said, “I feel so relaxed, so at peace.” That melted my heart and let me know my gifts were shared well. Last week my friend Amy came over and we ate a bowl of popcorn and painted placemats while she told awesome stories of God moving in the lives of those around her. This week I’m hosting an Art & Eats mini retreat with my friend Kristi. We’ll be spending time with 12 ladies for an evening of creativity, tasty food, authentic friendship, and restoration.

Using your gifts enhances hospitality. I’ve seen it first hand.

What gift of yours will you commit to using this week?

Share in the comments below! And if you’re unsure how you could use one of your gifts to enhance hospitality — let’s brainstorm! List them out and I’ll help you weave them into hospitality.

2 comments… add one

  • Brooke August 25, 2015, 12:38 pm

    I love love love this :) I am excited to think of what gifts I might have that I can use to improve my own hospitality. So here’s a question for you…I am a great cook. And me and my husband geek out over amazing ingredients. Part of the experience of eating every meal at our house, involves commentary on how good the food is :) Recently, we hosted friends for dinner, and not once did they comment on the food. We had a great conversation and it was a great evening for fellowship. But part of me–probably because ‘words of affirmation’ is my love language;)–part of me was really disappointed that our friends didn’t notice my gift! How would you deal with this? Do I need to simply change my expectations? Perhaps have a dinner group that involves other foodies where we can all gush over how everything tastes and that part of me can be fulfilled, and then have friends over my expectations are simply on our friendships with no expectation for an enlightened food experience?? Maybe–I have other gifts than just being able to cook ;) Maybe, depending on who we are inviting into our home to share a meal, I can choose to focus on whatever gift is most appropriate so that not only do I feel like i was able to contribute, but that I was able to feel equally fulfilled in that same regard. Would love your thoughts!

    • Alysa September 8, 2015, 9:26 am

      Hi Brooke,

      Hooray! Glad this post resonated with you. My first question to you would be, “Why do you host people; why do you open your home and invite people over?” Is it to garner compliments on your cooking or so you can care for you guests/friends? That small shift in perspective and your expectations might help. You hit that nail on the head! I noticed you said, “We had a great conversation and it was a great evening for fellowship.” That’s incredible and the gift from the evening you should hold onto. There’s great value in that. Even if guests don’t mention the food during the meal — know that you’re nourishing their bodies with good food. That’s a meaningful contribution.

      I’m sorry they didn’t comment on the meal you so lovingly prepared; I’m sure you’re an amazing cook. Several thoughts on that! Maybe they’re not foodies like you and your husband? Maybe they were so engaged in meaningful conversation with you it just slipped their minds. Several times I’ve been engrossed with friends and the goings-on in their lives that I simply forget to express my thanks for a wonderful meal. It springs to my mind when I’m driving away, which might lead to sending a thank you note later in the week. Another thought I had — perhaps the food you made was delicious but your guests didn’t like something in the dish. Maybe it was pasta with mushrooms and they’re a tad unsure of mushrooms. Perhaps they were afraid that if they gushed about how tasty the food was you’d remember and make the dish for them again?

      Love your idea for creating a foodie dinner group. Because I’m sure your gift for pairing ingredients and insights into food would go over well with friends like that!

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