He Rolled Out the Red Carpet for Our Guests

Our dining room table set for dinner guests

Our dining room table set for dinner guests

If you’re visiting from Proverbs 31’s Encouragement for Today devotion, welcome!

I prayed weeks for this dinner. The couple we invited was sweet but tormented on many levels —they needed Jesus. I wanted to roll out the red carpet and treat them like royalty; God knows they needed a big dose of His love.

Time got away from me—cleaning the house, making the dessert and all.  I still had to run to the store to get the filet mignons. I know, they’re expensive, but I wasn’t going to spare any cost for them—it would be a feast!

I sat the grocery bags inside the front door and then ran back out to light the fire in the grill. They would be there in less than half an hour! I ran back to the front door, grabbed the bags of gold, I mean—filet mignons—and laid them on the kitchen counter. I reached in for the first steak and pulled out an empty package. Puzzled, I pulled out the second package, it was empty, the third and fourth . . .all empty, not even a trace of steak, just perfectly clean empty packages!  “What in the world?  Where are my expensive delicious steaks?“ I cried.

About that time my large greyhound dog, Cuzi walked around the corner, with his head cowered. He wouldn’t look at me. I called for him but he lowered his head even more and ran behind the couch. I followed him, and not a trace of a steak did I find, just one guilty dog with a very full tummy. He had done this kind of thing before; eaten entire large pizzas, cakes and whole plates of fried chicken without a crumb left behind. Yep, he was the thief, alright. Guilty was written all over his face.

I heard knocking at my front door. They were early, I had no main course to serve and I couldn’t find the red carpet to roll out (you know my mood—it was eaten by the dog).

While we were welcoming them, I remembered that I had a homemade Chicken& Dumpling Casserole in the freezer. It was my only choice so with a groan I turned the oven on and popped it in.

I then excused myself to the restroom, closed the door and said, “Jesus, help me, help me get over my own expectations of what tonight would look like. I’ve asked You for weeks to lavish this couple with Your presence. You don’t need steaks to make it grand. Bring Your presence powerfully into our midst. Jesus, you are all we need to make this night a royal feast. Come Lord Jesus and fill this place with Your glory.” And I walked back out to my guests.

Oh my, oh my-The dinner (though, not the food) was spectacular as His glory more than filled our house while we shared Jesus that night. None of us wanted the night to end it was SO good.

Jesus rolled out the red carpet, brought us to His banqueting table and His love enveloped us. It could not have been any more royal a night.

I surrendered my plans for His, and His were better, ah Jesus!

 What hinders you from inviting guests for dinner? Tell me in the comment section to enter your name in the drawing to win a $30 Target gift card (something to help your entertaining) and Proverbs 31 Ministries brand new Encouragement for Today devotion book.  Winner drawn next Wednesday!drying flowers, hannah's house, chicken casserole, gnoii 113

For my Chicken & Dumpling Casserole recipe click here.  

I Peter 4: 9-11, “Be hospitable to one another…if anyone ministers (entertains), let him do it with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever, amen.

  • Samantha said:

    Wow. I think this is one of the best posts I have ever read here - or at least really what I needed right now. My husband's parents came over unexpectedly this weekend and I was so embarrassed that our house was messy that I couldn't get myself together to be a decent hostess. Our house is small and filled with little boys and animals.. it is so hard to keep things tidy and that keeps me from wanting to invite people over. I know it is silly.. this was a great reminder of what is really important.

  • Laura said:

    Sharon, I've been reading your blog for a couple months and enjoying it so much! This post was really encouraging. I can relate to that feeling of needing everything to be perfect before trying to play hostess. If I don't feel like I'll have time to pull together a good meal, or tidy up the house, that does hinder me from being hospitable. Also I realized recently that if I feel like we're in a tough season of marriage, or having a tough time with the kiddos, I'm also less likely to have people over, I guess because maybe I'm not too excited about exposing our weak spots! I suppose we as women can all relate to feeling like we need to make things perfect. Thank you for the reminder that His presence is all we really need:)

  • Vickie said:

    Thanks for the great reminder that it's about Jesus - not my house or the food. Bless you for opening your home!

  • anna said:

    Great post. I think my mess and lack of finances stops me from having guests. I trend to think loo need to do something extra special when they come over. I am learning to just be the me He intended me to be and that is good enough mess and all.

  • Heather Marcotte said:

    Such an awesome post! I can think of so many reasons why I don't invite many people for dinner. I would say one of the biggest reasons are my insecurities. I have broken chairs,small space, something always seems to go wrong when I cook for others, and waiting for the perfect time.
    Thank you for putting things into the correct perspective. Once again.
    Love you!

  • kelley said:

    I would love to entertain friends and family even if I was serving hotdogs, but my dear hubby who has not yet accepted the Lord pretty much puts his foot down everytime I even mention it. He wants me to himself. I do appreciate that he loves me and that I am enough "company" for him but frankly I am lonely and need additional companions to talk and share with. My marriage is important....feeling frustrated and thankful all in the same breath

    • Arianne said:

      Kelley, I will pray for your husband and I hope you have those in a church group to pray too. Maybe if he loves you so very much you need to tell him to do this for you? Implore him to give this gift of fellowship to you, it may push his buttons and push him out of his comfort zone but being lonely is not good. I find after the time spent with others is when my husband and me, that is when we realize how good it was to make time for others in our circle too. May Jesus give you peace and His strength.

  • Sharon Goist said:

    Hi Sharon. Awesome posts and one I personally needed. Many years ago my husband and I purchased my in-laws old farm in the country where my husband grew up. They were part of the depression era. They were wonderful people but had no money for caring for their home. It had been in the family for several generations. We purchased the home (coming from a brand new home). There were so many "Family" connections to this home and property. We knew it would take a lot of work and money to restore the home. We also took care of my in-laws for 12 years in our home. This was mostly a blessing. We worked very hard in and out of the home to obtain the money and perform the restoring ourselves (because of the costs). My husband is a very talented man. However, our Lord wanted us to slow down I guess and wanted us to smell the roses (including our children). My husband became ill and has had 8 surgeries in that time. I had to quit work to help my husband, in-laws and raise our children and my mother and sister both ill with heart and diabetes issues (both now with our Lord). Anyway, the remodeling as come pretty much to a stand still. We have most of the materials but the labor has not been done. We have not entertained as we love to do so that we can enjoy others and discuss our wonderful Lord with us and hoping to grow His kingdom because we feel like our home does not depict the goodness that our Lord has shown us. We have come to learn to grow on our property everything we can. We preserve most of our food, have chickens and slowly are trying to continue with our remodeling. We want those invited to our home to see and feel our Lord. I struggle with keeping our home as clean as I want it to be to invite others in - not for our praise but for the Lord's glory. When I read your article it was sorta like your steaks - not important. Thank you because it has shown me that I need to let it up God to let those who enter our home see God through the Holy Spirit not through perfection in my home. God used you to show me through your experience that His love and brilliance will always outshine anyone's home or menu. After all he had meals for His friends wherever they needed and whenever they needed it. God bless you. Sharon

    • Andrew Moverley said:


      The Lord loves your desire to display His glory! That is amazing! But I agree with you--His Spirit does outshine home or menu. I also want to encourage you in this: when I look at the Bible and throught human history, I find that most people come to know The Lord through an encounter with a person who already knows Him. Very few people meet Jesus by seeing His beauty in someone's physical "things". Usually, they feel the Love of God through someone else, and they are provoked to that same love.

      I believe as you step out and embrace people right where you are in your current circumstance--and in your home, tidy or not--they will encounter the love of God, and it's His love that sets them free and causes them to fall in love with Him.

      I hope this helps. I pray for deeper freedom in your heart. You were made for this!
      Andrew Moberley :)

  • Margaret said:

    What a awesome reminder to each of us that it's not about us trying to reach out to those around us. But about his spirit moving the hearts of those around us. What is causing me not to invite others right now to our home is I was told to leave Egypt almost 4 months ago and have been living out of a suitcase. After reading your story it makes me realize that even now I could bless someone just by buying them a cup of coffee or chocolate bar.

  • Debbie said:

    I have hardly ever cooked for other people so do not feel confident enough to do so. Plus we have four cats who are all over the place. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Chris said:

    My embarrassment that our home may not be good enough for those invited over. We do not have a lot of money , but our home is clean. Very low esteem and the feeling of judgement reside in this home, along with six people and 2 dogs! However, the blessings and Grace of God hopefully out weigh all the negativity, I love reading your posts, sometimes they come at the most perfect time. Thanks!

  • Erin Anderson said:

    The one thing that hinders me is time. I am in the season of raising four small children. We have tried to make it a priority recently to be more hospitable but we have to work at it. It's always such a blessing, though, when we do make the time and enjoy the fellowship with others.

  • Jacqueline L Grant said:

    I just got through reading the Encouragement for the day devotional "In the Midst of Dirty Dishes". It hit home with me. At our church, we celebrate Clergy Appreciation Day of the 3rd Sunday in October. I am the Pastor's wife. Each year I have hosted our speaker and his family at our home for dinner. This year in preparing for the service it was told to me that since I always have the speaker at our home, what is to happen. I was appalled! It is just assumed that I would be hosting again!!!!! I thought to myself "who said I would be doing this again! Can't you do it! I was thinking of myself, what to cook, having to prepare, setting out the china, etc. But this devotional reminded me of so many positive things that persons have said about having dinners, showers, women's meetings at our home. Things like how calm and homey people feel when they come, among other things that have been said! I asked the Lord to forgive me. This is an incredible gift that God has given me and my family and now, due to this devotional I will never forget to thank God for his unspeakable, wonderful gift!

  • Susan said:

    The food preparation is what usually hinders me. I want it to be fancy, but your post helps me realize that it doesn't have to be "gold." Thanks to God for speaking through you today.

  • Tiffiny said:

    Fear, constant struggle with perfectionism, and four children keep me from being hospitable. I LOVE to cook, but usually choose to take food to others rather than invite them into my home. I am getting a little better with family, but the thought of inviting strangers into my home sends terror down my spine. I have prayer for a heftier dose of hospitality, but I know that in ACTION is where my growth will occur. So now I am praying for courage...

  • Debby said:

    Great story, Sharon!
    I get nervous about inviting people over. I have a little social anxiety so I worry about the conversation, the room arrangement, and everything being perfect. I have had guests before but I just can't seem to relax and enjoy them. My husband is a people person, and he would love for us to host gatherings but I manage to avoid them. Maybe I need to get out of my comfort zone and just do it! I am inspired by your post. Thank you!!!!

  • April said:

    Thank you for this! My husband and I have been saying for years that we need to have a new family over every other week. Have we done it...No, because I worry too much, that the house is not perfect, my cooking is not that great, we have small children with toys everywhere, etc... The list goes on. But, that is not what is important. Fellows hoping and sharing His love with others is what is important and we just need to obey that idea that He put in our minds!

  • Arianne said:

    Oh how sweet it is to trust in Jesus, what a taste the Bible says and we forget that He is the main course and the main ingredient! My husband and his best friend were roommates, they would often entertain, without much worry for the "perfect" state or stage set in their home. I learned from that and began letting go of my "perfect" image of what entertaining looked like. Remember the Bible says our gift of hospitality, I believe the Lord needs to give you a want and desire to be a hostess. Look at your 80 year old missionary, she had a passion for it, not to do it like a good deed to earn our points as a Godly woman. When we step back from MY idea of it, I think your encouragement is right on. In spite of what may fall apart along the way, if we have felt lead in our heart to do it, then Jesus will show up. Praise God for His goodness to us, His amazing grace. I don't have kids yet but I love ladies when a friend with kids invites me over to toys, pets, and socks on the stairs, it reminds me that we should be human. Let's be real and not Martha Stewart wannabes, not slobs or lazy but let's be ourselves and not try to tidy it all up for others, relax and be at home with guests. Praise God I am not alone in this struggle.

  • Donna G said:

    I am not a very good cook & don't really know how to prepare for more than 2 people. Our home is small & I'm usually so busy with my job & taking care of a son with special needs that cleaning house is not a priority. I guess in a lot of ways I feel inadquate to have people over. Lord, forgive me! Jesus didn't even have a home & depended on the kindness of friends & family (& some times strangers!) to minister to Him.

  • Jackie said:

    I fear that the meal will not be good enough. I have a family member who has cooked and worked in restaurants her whole life, and I let that intimidate me. I rarely try anything different as it does not usually work out, and my family does not like it. Reading your post today forced me to remember that it is not about the food but the fellowship. Thank you.

  • Kathy Morris said:

    What a beautiful picture of Jesus showing up! Thank you for sharing. Enjoyed!!! I would love to invite folks to break bread around our dinner table...a time of fellowship. Unfortunately, whenever my husband lost his job in 2008...things have been a little crazy. We stay on the road back and forth from Raleigh to Charlotte...thankful for a job the Lord blessed my husband with...at our age, it's difficult. For the past 5 years, our table is in our mini-van...but, God gives us the strength and wherewithal to make it. Beautiful home setting...thank you for sharing, Sharon!!!!

  • Denise said:

    I think many of us can relate. Caught up in the details of entertaining and cooking we're more Martha than Mary but God can turn our humble efforts into so much more.

  • Becca said:

    I have great plans to invite others over once a month but somehow life gets in the way and it's months or years before we ever have them over. I know God can use fellowship to bring deep relationship with others which is what I'd really like to have.

  • What hinders me is our dog. He's little but he will bark incessantly for several minutes and it makes me anxious. Even if we put him in another room, his high pitched bark sounds throughout the house. It's awful but it's true.

  • I loved this post. I believe God is moving in this direction to open our home. I have listened too long to the voices that say, "your furniture looks old..." "you can't entertain without..."
    And it doesn't matter what the words are, they work.

    I crumple back up into my isolation longing for community. I need God's intervention to change this and defeat my cares. I don't want to be a Martha. I really do care about people.

    • Andrew Moberley said:


      When I was younger, a beautiful couple that Sharon and Dale remind me of opened up their home to me and many other teens. We didn't live there, but it felt like home. The house wasn't anything extravagant. In fact, it was rather small, almost all of their furniture came from thrift stores, and they always searched for the best deals on food, as they had little to spare. Yet it was there that I and many other experienced the Father's love. We didn't go there for "things", we went for relationship--we knew we were loved.

      I'm now 23 and was recently married. My wife and I have people over 3-4 times every week, and WE LOVE IT!!! And so do they! And believe me, they don't come for the house itself. They come because we lavish them with our hearts, and of course, food! Sometimes it's just a sandwich or leftovers, but it's food. Oh, and by the way, none of our furniture matches, and the truth is, no one really ever cares.

      Dale and Sharon are some of our heroes. Not because they are super humans, but because they make us feel loved. Sometimes everything is not in order, they're busy, things are everywhere, but it doesn't matter. They love us! And we feel that love.

      So be released from all fear in Jesus' name. Choose courage. I hope this helps.

      With the utmost respect and understanding,
      Andrew Moberley :)

  • Kristen Cook said:

    I still feel a bit hindered about having people, although we do it all the time. We have a moderately sized house and so it is kind of cluttered because we aren't good at getting rid of stuff we don't need. I close the doors to rooms that are a bit worse. Sometimes all I can manage to do to get ready is sweep and clean the toilet. We have permanent marker on the walls, haven't repainted because we still have small children who might mark the wall again. I still host at our house because we need to and I try not to worry that the house isn't perfect. I hope also that it will set an example for others that we know that they don't have to have a perfect house to have people over. I have to realize that my gifting is not in decorating and even though others have that gift, I am no less of a Christian because I don't have that talent.

    • Did you read the Proverbs 31 post today that I wrote? The missionary that ministered to thousands in her kitchen was never about decorating and she was one of the greatest Christians I've ever personally known. Hugs!

  • Jill Beran said:

    Loved this post! My husband longs for the day when we just open our home, but I worry about not being the best cook and with 5 kids, I'm aware of the mess and worry about what others will think. So what holds me back - fear of man when I should be focused on pleasing God, which would lead to opening my house and sharing Him and focusing on His goodness rather than me and my mess!! Thank you for this today!!

    • I totally understand Jill, since I raised five children. I did more entertaining then than I do now and it was always crazy, but God always supplied everything we needed. Hugs!

  • christina said:

    I linger to invite guess over because of the mess we have in our living room (my husbands stuff). It has been there for the last 2 years, when he cleans it it gets replaced with new junk all over the floor. I used to run to the door to meet people so they wouldn't have to come in. But within the last few months I have learned to let go of the bitterness and not let his mess bother me as bad. Some of our friends recently brought us dinner (with the dirty living rom) and we had a BLAST. They ignored the mess, and we all had a great time. Sometimes we just have to let go of our own expectations.

  • Joy said:

    Oh my goodness Sharon. I was talking about this very thing with a friend just days ago. We are hosting a "Missions Conference" at our church in another week. Missionaries from all over come and share and we have nightly meetings etc... It's always a wonderful time. Currently there is a "sign-up" sheet for families to host a missionary for lunch/dinner etc... I'm always intimidated by the meal preparation. I never know what to serve. I wish so much I had a "go to" recipe that never failed, was easy and tasted delicious. I'm a "plain Jane" cook, and being married to a husband who's mother was an amazing "do-it-all-from-scratch" wonder, my meals have almost never received any compliments or praise so I feel they are so inadequate. I have zero confidence in the kitchen. My fear of what to make and how it will turn out keeps me from extending an invitation.

    I LOVE having people in for coffee/tea and dessert. THAT I can handle...but the whole meal thing puts me into a panic.

    I grew up with a mom who's least favourite room in the house was the kitchen. Oh, she daily prepared meals, but just like your girls learned that "hard noodles" were a good thing (I was listening to your CD again recently *smile*), we learned to eat "some kind of meat" (never really knew what it was...it was just always very well done!) and cover it with Ketchup! My mom's favourite verse around mealtime was: "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." (Proverbs 15:17) My mom liked to rephrase it as: Better is a dinner of hot-dogs where love is, than prime rib served with hate. It's so true, but so hard to live by...especially when having company!

    Praying for a recipe and courage to sign-up for a missionary at church tomorrow! Yes, it's all about the presence of Jesus, the unseen Guest at every gathering. May the Living Bread be what we hunger for as we taste and see that the Lord is good.

    Love you,

    • Lena said:

      Joy, I just wanted to share a recipe with you that I just recently found. I am not the best cook but I have made it twice already and it turned out delicious! And the great part is it is really quite simple to make. Hope you like the recipe! God bless you.


      • Joy said:

        Thanks Lena, how sweet of you to send this recipe link. Easy and delicious. Sounds good! Thanks so much. So kind of you to hear my need and desire to help.

    • You're going to have that message memorized Joy! Don't you have my orange chicken recipe ironed out? It never fails me.

      • Joy said:

        Haha...I've heard that message a lot again recently as I play it for friends who visit who are anticipating your arrival here next year :-) I never get tired of hearing God-stories.

        I'll have to try that recipe again. I didn't do so well that first time, and to be honest it discouraged me from attempting it again. I DO however have your pancake recipe perfected. Maybe I could invite the missionaries for breakfast :-)


      • Joy said:

        Sharon just wanted to return to tell you I truly took your post to heart and signed up to have a missionary couple to my home this coming Monday for dinner. I also extended the invitation to another couple from the church as well.

        No sense agreeing without applying. :-)
        I'll let you know how it goes.

        • I'm So excited that you invited the missionaries over for supper!!

  • Lena said:

    Thank you for this post. My husband and I have just recently decided that we are going to be opening our home to other people. The hard part is that we recently moved to a different state . We go to church, talk to a few people but we are not really friends. I get very nervous inviting others into our home. I used to get very nervous even inviting friends and family over back home! But I believe that this is what God wants from our family. We have decided starting December we will be inviting a family over once a month. ( I know this doesn't sound like much, but for us who never really invited anyone over, it is A LOT!) I still get nervous just thinking about it, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

    • Once a month is great Lena! Let me know how it goes, I would love to hear! Hugs!

  • Janice said:

    I love your post today. It really hits home for me. I love to cook and have people over but I think I have to have everything perfect before I can invite anyone over. I know God has spoken to me before about this and this was a great reminder that it is not my house or the fancy dinner that matters but showing God's love to others...

  • Teresa said:

    What a wonderful message of how to honor God and quit worrying about the externals. "little is much if God is in it".

  • Marcella Snyder said:

    What keeps me from entertaining more is that I travel a lot and the busyness of the weeks make my time fly. But when I do entertain it is always a good time of fellowship and good food. It is a pleasure to have people over for dinner and conversation. It is just that my schedule makes it hard to do consistently, but I am always happy when the opportunity comes to have people around our dinner table. Thanks for your comments and the great pictures.

  • aubri oreilly said:

    thank you for this post. I so badly needed this. I am my own worse enemy. Always putting too much pressure on myself to have everything perfect and losing focus of what is important. I am trying to ask myself "will it affect eternity" and the answer 75% of the time is no it won't. So I need to focus on what really matters-to love and serve

    • I like that Aubri, "will it affect eternity." Good word to remember!Hugs!

  • Diane Fetter said:

    I loved this post! What a great reminder. My biggest excuse is finding the time or date, of just plain doing it!

  • Nanci D said:

    How true! I love having people over. I can't claim to be a great cook or a great housekeeper but, if there is an opportunity to invite people over...count me in. I have learned over the years that everything does NOT have to be perfect. It's all about bringing Christ into the home. Believe me, mellowing out has definitely been much easier on my marriage. Thanks for the great post. How come my table never looks that good? I don't have a dishwasher so I always use paper plates. :-)

    • I don't have a dishwasher either Nanci :(. I would LOVE a dishwasher--it would save a lot of time. I haven't had one for at least 6 years. Hugs!

  • Jen D said:

    What hinders me is my house. It is very small and with 3 children it gets cluttered easily. The outside of the house needs paint and flowers which I just can't afford. I'm just so embarrassed. I want people to come over to my house, take their shoes off and throw themselves on the couch and relax. I want to show Christ's love and "put out the red carpet". I know it shouldn't be that way. Just a hang up I really need to pray about.
    This was a wonderful post. I truly enjoy this website!

  • kelly said:

    Jesus is always the best meal to feast upon!! I can only imagine how I would have handled your situation?? Probably not with the grace I'm sure you did!

  • Danielle Duarte said:

    3 small children, a full-time job, and a blind husband. Every day life can be so exhausting sometimes, the thought of entertaining is overwhelming.

    • Wow, that's a lot Danielle! I'd like to invite YOU over to my house!! Do you live in Virginia by any chance?? Hugs!

  • Joanne Peterson said:

    This is such a good reminder that when Jesus shows up; He takes care of the rest. From your pictures and your description, I see you are very artistic with the table, and the other things you have made, but in a way that is cozy and inviting; just making people feel loved and wanted in your home.

    We have gotten away from inviting guests in our home, and from this post, even though with two small children, and the mess, to just let people hang out and be loved in our home. If we look and make ourselves available, people are hungry for the love of Jesus.

    I appreciate your comments to the other women to encourage them, it encourages me to do this more and be a missionary where I am.

  • Amber M. said:

    As a busy over scheduled working mom, my house is never picture perfect. But its always full of love and fun. I love having others come and not have to worry about taking off their shoes at the door or their little ones being messy at my house. I just want them to come and spend time with us and enjoy the time in a laid back place.

  • Mary T said:

    Sharon, loved this post and you P31 devotion. My home is very modest, small and we have 3 German Shepherds to boot! I have to admit that sometimes the hardwood floors are sandier than I think it is outside, but love our dogs! Anyway, I am going to open my heart and my home without shame or embarrassment....thank you for reminding me that my humble abode can also be a home where God's loveand blessings may be shared!

  • Lisa said:

    Thanks so much for this encouraging blog and your devotion on P31 today. It used to be finances that held me back - but then God started showing us what I call "Loaves and Fishes" kind of love - we don't start with much (on a tight budget), but everyone gets fed and satisfied - even extended family that comes by needing food to get by for the week. With two little ones and another about to arrive, I find it so hard to be motivated to clean after being at work all day. Also, to be honest, I always picture how clean my mom used to keep our house growing up, and I forever feel inadequate and shamed by how cluttered and non-cleaned our house gets. I feel guilty because I don't hold things down at home the way it seemed she always did. I nearly have an anxiety attack every time she and my stepdad come for a visit, worried how they'll be scrutinizing our living space and judging me - even though they never say anything to try to make me feel bad! I like what someone else mentioned above, that by inviting others into my truly imperfect home, I am perhaps planting a seed that they too can host friends/guests and share the love of Jesus in a less-than-perfect setting. Thanks again :)

    • Lisa, my home is not as clean as my mom kept hers either. I have to leave all that behind daily if I'm going to do what God has called me to too. Love and hugs!

  • Becky J said:

    Sharon, what hinders me most is the "Martha"-like expectations I put myself under...knowing full-well that I will overdo and stress...this post touched my heart so, so deeply...I can so relate to the crazy on the front end...my heart deeply desires to bring God glory through hospitality in our humble home. We pray that the Holy Spirit will be our guest of honor and that our guests will go home feeling loved and refreshed by HIM, however I need to learn to get out of the way! Thank you for your heart and words! The Lord richly bless!

  • Kathy said:

    I am hindered by the presence of two nervous cats who cower at the introduction of anyone to our home. Because of their sensitivities I have been reluctant to invite others to dinner or even for a coffee. God wants to use my home to reflect His glory to others, as you did for your guests. I need to put the needs of my pets aside and open my home to other people who can enjoy time with us and experience the fellowship of love.

  • Lorrie Moudy said:

    I live in constant C.H.A.O.S. (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)... We, too, are somewhat of a farm family, all boys and just me! Haven't mastered keeping it all together inside!

  • Mary Lou said:

    Oh, the reasons I don't invite guests over for dinner--the house is never quite clean enough; my cooking is nothing special; my best recipes tend to be simple, not fancy, food; sometimes my children don't display the best manners; our furniture is looking a little shabby; we only have an eat-in kitchen, no dining room; I can think of a million excuses. But God didn't say to practice hospitality only when the house is spotless, the children are perfect, and my recipe would make Martha Stewart jealous. I find it very easy to invite my children's friends to visit with us, share meals, sleep over. I'm just intimidated by adults. Perhaps God is using your post to shake me out of my comfort zone and encourage me to open my home.

  • Joanne Peterson said:

    Wow!, I just read the devotion from Proverbs 31 just now. Your missionary friend is an example! I'm not in my 80's and she just was who she is and loved people and shared food and shared Jesus.

    Thank you!

  • Bel said:

    My excuse is that I'm exhausted and don't feel like talking.

    BUT you encouraged me to invite someone over who was dropping by anyways for dinner tonight. Hoping it all goes well and thank you for your dirty dishes devotion. It really hit the spot.=)

  • Heidi said:

    Wow. Great Post. You know, I used to entertain/host quite a bit and really felt called to. But the last many months I've just felt tired - tired of cleaning my house and having the pressure of making things 'perfect.'

  • Gail said:

    Fabulous reminder of how God has everything under control. My husband and I both work late every day - way past dinner time most days, including Saturdays, and it doesn't leave a lot of time or energy for relationship, with each other or anyone else! I think what I really need is to be more intentional about making the most of what little time we have - to allow God to work and pay attention to the Divine Appointments He brings into our lives.

  • Dina said:

    Huh, the past year, the instability in our marriage has hindered both my husband and I from inviting guests into our house.

    Sharon, I have been following your website for a few months now. Especially durning times of struggle in my marriage. I feel as though I know you so well! Thank you for sharing, welcoming your site's visitors into your home, and most importantly, not holding back on sensitive subjects. I am sincerely so happy to have recently welcomed Jesus back into my heart and now we've started welcoming guests back into our house again. Most recently, we dined on $5.55 take-out pizzas and we felt blessed by the experience! Lots of laughter, conversation, and a sense of community.

  • Rachel Kline said:

    What a great post this was!! I long to be the person that invites others over for meals. I love to cook and I love to bake, but my home is small, cluttered, and far from presentable. I am embarrassed by my tiny home with the messy countertops, dirty floors, and cluttered cupboards, and now, when I write these reasons down, they aren't nearly good enough reasons to keep from sharing His love and hospitality with others. This is the home that God has provided me and my family, and while it may not be large or beautiful, it is full of warmth and love, and that is what matters.

    Thanks for helping me see that. :)

  • Reminds me of Thanksgiving holiday. Family all meet at my house (40+), I would fret be frustrated with getting the house and yard clean, plus some of the cooking. As I have gotten wiser (?) And listen ed to the Holy Spirit, now I just have peace in fellowshipping with family and having prayer, praise, and hearing the word time.

  • linda said:

    your home is absolutely stunning! The environment so perfect and peaceful and welcoming.
    What hinders me? Marriage to a wonderful moses man of 40 years, a man who is socially inept and has a very shallow faith. I long to do what you and your husband do. Hearing these kinds of stories hurts my heart. It's like the pain of an infertile young woman watching all the young mom's and their children on the playground.
    The realization that the dream of being spiritually equally yoked and able to do what you and your husband do as a team, will not happen at this point of my life. I grieve.

  • Maureen Flynn said:

    What hinders me from inviting dinner gueats? Mainly, ME. I pray daily to abandon my own expectations and go with the flow and trust that God has something better in mind. We also have 2 boys, ages 4 & 3. I'm getting better, but those expectations and desires are to have things "just so" with a measuring stick of pre-child entertaining..like that's realistic!!! Last year we moved into a great entertaining home and I really felt called to open the doors and bring any and every person that we could in. We hosted 3 large events and it was nice. Then something changed, and I somehow got snagged on the opinion of other people. I forget that people (esp) with small kids have the goal of just getting the food on the table and sitting together; it does not have to be served in courses or on the best dishes. It's all about the fellowship and relationships, not how it looks. Praying to get back to the open door policy and see what God has in store!

    Thanks for your ministry, love your down to earth and authentic blogs. They touch my heart and inspire me- seeing God in action is the best!

  • patti said:

    I am ready for bed but came to this right from the Proverbs 31 posting - and HAD to comment. WHAT a GREAT story! I have had my dogs do similarly with not so nice a retreat to the bathroom to pray. What an awesome God we serve! Funny tonight at our Bible study, my friend showed us her Bible AND the workbook BOTH chewed by her dog when she left the room. We ALL laughed. Your story is even better - especially since it resulted in salvation. I will be sure to share it. I would LOVE the Target card but I KNOW that GOD will give it to whomever is perfect to receive it.

  • Joy said:

    Oh my goodness! I'm teaching a lesson this Sunday about inviting others to come unto Christ and I was studying, praying and pondering and then the first blog I read is your post. A perfect God breeze:) I used to think that having a two young children was an excuse, but most people enjoy being around the occasional kid or two. I used to think that not being able to cook well was an excuse, but people come for the company more than the food. I used to think that not having a table was an excuse, but so far no one has minded sitting on the couches. I have run out of excuses, I think there's someone I need to invite over for dinner :) Thank you sooo much!

    • Joy said:

      Joy...I just have to introduce myself. Not only do we share a name, but the things you share often echo my heart, right down to your choice of wording and style of writing. I always enjoy reading any comments you leave here. I love your passion for the Lord. Thank you for letting me "see" Jesus through your comments here.
      Joy (the Canadian one *smile*)

  • Anonymous said:

    Sometimes the guests don't make the effort to show up! I have had so many disappointing dinner party type events this year, mostly family but others too - I'm was starting to call it the year of disappointments but then I remembered the scripture that says; All men (and women) will disappoint you, but the LORD never will (can't find the "address" right now).

    With an estranged daughter and two daughters feuding and my son across the country I already have anxiety about the Holidays coming up. For us the Walton family gatherings are over. So now I need a different approach for Holidays, any suggestions?

    • All you can do- is do your best! Make good food and serve it with gladness of heart and if they don't show up then God saw your heart and he will reward you for your intentions. He see's everything and that's who we ultimately live for! I'm sorry that it has been so hard! Hugs

  • Hello Sharon, Thank you for writing about this. I remember once when I could hardly afford it, buying and cooking a wonderful chicken dish for someone suffering hard times. They thought we ate like that all the time and were showing off to them how good we had it. I was mortified when I heard how they judged my motive. So I believe what happened with you, was Gods plan. And I praise Him that it all worked out so fine. You are a wise lady to place what happened into His hands.. How I love Him and how great He is.

    • Oh my that's terrible Crystal! I once served pancakes and eggs for dinner guests-- and they choose not to eat it! Yep, they couldn't imagine eating such a thing for dinner. it was all we had money for that day. I believe the Lord saw our sacrifice and was pleased. I never forgot that instance. Would I ever make pancakes and eggs for dinner guests again? You bet I would. If that's all we can afford then it's better than not having guests. Most people would love to have homemade pancakes with farm fresh eggs.

  • MissyB said:

    Just wanting everything to be perfect and I make my own family miserable trying to make it that way and of course my tone and all changes when guest arrives.

    • Lisa said:

      wow, me too. then it's stressful when guests arrive cuz your fam feels bad about how they've been treated and watch you treat guests with kindness and grace... my hubby and i have talked on numerous occasions about how i am guilty of this.

  • Tonya said:

    I love to have people over, but always feel like my house is not clean or neat enough for those visiting. Thank you for reminding me that when I feel crazy about cleaning and cooking for guests that I need to remember to step back and pray and let Jesus take over. I want to do all things for His glory not mine. Another lady wrote that we need to remember also is this "affect eternity"... love this. Thank you for your ministry!

    • Lord help us all to be more eternally focused and not so caught up in the worlds idea of perfect! Thank You Jesus!

  • Brittanny said:

    Oh how wonderful you at least had something else to serve! I struggle in those moments to "keep the calm and carry on" I just watched/listened to a very moving/powerful commencement speech here http://www.upworthy.com/the-earth-shatteringly-amazing-speech-that-ll-change-the-way-you-think-about-adulthood-4?g=2
    about choosing to not let the everyday bore or hassles get you down. I think my biggest concern about inviting people over at this stage in my life would be because I live with other people and would mostly want to "run the show" but the joy of roommates does not always allow for that!

  • Brittanny said:

    Oh how wonderful you at least had something else to serve! I struggle in those moments to "keep the calm and carry on" I think my biggest concern about inviting people over at this stage in my life would be because I live with other people and would mostly want to "run the show" but the joy of roommates does not always allow for that!

  • Terrie said:

    I was reading your Prov. 31 devo about going to Japan and it reminded me of a dear friends of ours, the Cox's who have been missionaries there for many, many years. I was wondering it this is whom you were speaking of when you wrote this piece?

    • YES Terrie! Stella and Ralph!!!!! You know them??????!!!!!! Stella is a powerhouse!!!!!!!

      • Terrie said:

        Yes, we know them. We have had them in our home in So. CA. We went to college with their sons, and this is how we got to know them. My husband even went to Japan to replace Stella and Ralph, as a summer missionary one year, as they went home on furlough. Stella and Ralph really wanted us to consider becoming missionaries to come along side them as I had a major in home ec. and my husband, a M. Div., but we went into full time ministry here. They are powerhouses, indeed. Your devo made me smile....

        • Yep, you've got the WHOLE picture!! I love it!! Wow, I love your story! Bless you and your ministry!!

  • Library Momma said:

    My husband works a different schedule than I do so I always feel like I am not organized enough, the house is not clean enough, I am not awake enough, I don't have enough time, energy, or patience...

  • Abby said:

    Love this story! Your table/home is beautiful. What hinders me? .... All the what if fears, what could I make that would taste good, what if they don't like it, what if they think I'm cluttery. Basically I wait for perfect circumstances in my home before inviting someone over, and perfect circumstances never happen. Thanks for the encouragement (and giveaway).

    • You're so right Abby, perfect circumstances rarely happen!Hugs

  • Cuky Lynch said:

    Hospitality has never been a problem for me if it is someone whom I want to invite however, to be "hospitable" to someone the Holy Spirit puts in my heart ... Well the excuses begin- have to clean, not sure what they would want to eat, do they have food allergies, etc, etc, etc. I really have been touched by your posting because this is a part of my life that I want to surrender to Jesus so I can be used in a more personal way. So Jesus said that the steaks (earthy food) is not what your guests were seeking but the Spiritual food from God in Jesus. Wow!! Got it!

    • Hi Cuky!! You would make a wonderful hostess indeed! I love you!