Entertaining on a single person’s budget can be difficult and somewhat restrictive. This can be especially complicated if you have little extra money after you have paid your bills. Yet hospitality is something that marks a Christian as different.
Use hospitality one to another without grudging. I Peter4:9
So how can we entertain or be hospitable?
First, we must find out what hospitality means. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hospitable means – 1a: given to generous and cordial reception of guests, b: promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome, c: offering a pleasant or sustaining environment, 2: readily receptive. (Sorry, I am a word lover so I put all of the definitions.) So hospitality is opening yourself to guests and providing them with a place they feel welcomed and refreshed.
Second, we need to figure out how to do this without breaking the bank. This is a process that will take more than one blog post. So, I hope to make it a regular segment here on Serving Single.
Money is always at the heart of anything we want to do. Doing things takes money. It is as simple and as hard as that. However, there are ways to entertain without having to spend a lot of money. It takes a bit of research and a bit of thinking outside the box.
One of the things you can do is to take a look at your budget. Do you have any wiggle room to add a bit for entertaining? What can you cut back on in order to be hospitable? This may entail eating scrambled eggs for dinner several times a week, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (although for me this is an extravagance, the price of peanut butter!) or cutting back on the number of lattes you have during the week. Only you know what you would be willing to sacrifice in order to be hospitable.
Something else you can do is to use things you already have in our house. Who said entertaining had to be elaborate! Invite someone over for some tea or coffee. Fellowship is the point of hospitality. So, look around at what you already have in the house. How can you use it to entertain guests?
Space could become an issue if you want to start entertaining. Depending on where you live, your house, apartment or other living space may not be set up to receive guests. I am blessed to have a rather large living room, but not everyone has this blessing.
Look around your living area. Is it too small? Is it too cluttered? Do you have an area you can entertain in? What could you do to create the space you need?
Sometimes it is just a matter of providing a clean and neat area to have coffee. At other times, you may need to rearrange your living space. At times, it is a matter of keeping your guests to a manageable number. For example, I once had 21 people in my apartment. I will try never to do that again. My apartment is not set up to entertain that many people. It is a good thing we were all friends and that we remained friends afterward. So 20 is my max limit. However, I do know I can have a dinner for around 10 people in reasonable comfort.
Know your limits and stick to them. The goal is fellowship in a pleasant atmosphere. Not pile up on the couch.
My sister loves to entertain. She loves to set a beautiful table where everything matches. So, she has invested in some items that help her to set that gorgeous table. Tablecloths and napkins in a few different colors, a set of nice dishes (actually these were given to her by family), a set of chargers for under the plates and even some center pieces that can go from season to season. This does not mean she has spent a lot of money though. The tablecloths and napkins were bought at a thrift shop or were gifts. That set of nice dishes was a set passed down to her from our grandparents. The chargers she bought on sale. As for the centerpieces, I have known her to go into her back yard and come up with a beautiful centerpiece with what she found there. She has made these investments into entertaining.
You may not have the same style of entertaining as my sister, but there may be some things you need to invest in to entertain. Maybe your style is informal get-togethers. Invest in some games you can play. (I particularly like Uno, Phase10 and Bible Trivia.) Maybe your style is coffee or tea. Invest in a good tea or coffee service. (Keep your eyes open at thrift stores and flea markets. You never know what you will find!)
The main thing you need to invest in entertaining is time. Your time means a lot to someone who may feel overlooked and marginalized. When you invest your time with others, you are investing in eternity. You cannot take your money or possessions with you, but what you do for others will last for eternity.
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matthew 10:40-42