There have been many times that I’ve stood in the middle of my kitchen after an event thinking why do I do this to myself? My sink is full. There’s not enough room for another dish on my counter top. There is food and empty packaging everywhere. My stove is disgusting. My floors are a mess. This is the state of things every. single. time. I host an afternoon tea or a party. So why do I continue to do it? Because I’ve learned that the heart of hospitality is not showing off how organized or tidy I can be while hosting. The heart of hospitality is how my guests feel when they walk out my door. Do they feel that this was time well spent? Are they satisfied and full? Do they feel welcomed and loved. If the answer to any of these questions is no, then I failed. It doesn’t matter how clean my house is or how tidy I kept my kitchen during preparations.
Here are 3 lessons that I’ve learned from my messy kitchen:
1.) Every dirty tea cup is a testimony to a friendship.
As I wash each teacup, I can’t help but think of the sweet friend who held it that day. I thank God for her friendship and influence in my life. I am reminded that the Bible says in Proverbs 27:9b “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul” I thank God that He has blessed me with a home to open and tea cups to use. I am reminded that James 1:17a says “every good and perfect gift is from above.” I pray that God used me to be a blessing and draw that women closer to His heart. I remember that Matthew 5:16 says “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” I pray that whoever held that tea cup left my home feeling loved and cherished as a daughter of God, or that she would feel Jesus calling her to Himself. I remember that John 15:12 says “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
2.) Every empty package laying on my counter is a fed and satisfied stomach.
Have you ever been emotionally unavailable or just plain grumpy…because you were hungry? Sometimes, people just need food. There’s a reason they say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It’s not just men y’all. Women need food too! It’s hard to think straight, or focus energy on relationships, when you’re hungry. Sometimes, people just need a hot meal that they didn’t have to cook. Food has a way of bringing people together and making memories. J. R. R. Tolkien said “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” If we would spend more time around a table with a friend, or stranger, I think our culture would cease to be so self-involved and start opening their hearts.
“Cooking is love made visible “
3.) Every minute I spend cleaning reflects a priceless moment of fellowship.
People would much rather have your attention than your perfection. We see this reflected in the book of Luke chapter 10, verses 38-40. “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made…” If I’m spending my time in the kitchen fussing over dirty dishes, and my guests are sitting alone in my living room, what was the point of inviting them into my home? They’re probably sitting in there feeling awkward and bored to tears. The dishes can wait. My priority is making sure the people under my roof feel cherished and most of all, feel God’s love through me. Take time to spend with your guests when you host an event. Don’t spend your time running around making sure your home is perfect. Don’t busy yourself with clean up and forget the people in your home.
I love having a home full of people. I like filling bellies and putting smiles of faces through food. I like making people feel loved and cared for. So whenever I survey my kitchen littered with empty spice containers, meat wrappings, butter crocks, and food scraps, it fills my heart with joy and I will always look forward to the next time.