Hurried Hospitality

Four Ways To Be Ready for the Unexpected Guest

Have you ever gotten a last minute phone call from someone who needed a place to stay? Or just wants to come visit? That may send you into a tailspin - wanting to say yes, but cannot see how you could possibly accommodate them. Sometime even planned guests are more than we bargained for. We've all been there at one time or another!

Here's some tips to help you be prepared for the unexpected or spur of the moment guest:

1. Always stock your pantry with a "go to" meal.

My go to meal is spaghetti and French bread. If I happen to have the appropriate produce on hand, I will add a salad. But, spaghetti sauce will last awhile in the pantry. Meat (if you wanted to add that) as well as French bread stays well in the freezer. (hint: You may even want to brown and cook your meat ahead of time and put it in a freezer container to always have available). Find out what your go to meal is. What is easy for you to put together with ingredients that will keep for awhile? Be sure to remember to purchase new ingredients when you have used them up. That way, you will always be ready to extend an invitation for someone to come have a meal at your house.

2. Purchase two sets of sheets and pillowcases for your guest bed.

This is something that is actually on my to do list for tomorrow! I usually finish with one overnight guest, strip the sheets of the bed, and throw them onto the laundry pile. My goal is to have them washed and put back on the bed by the time my next set of company comes! A better idea is to have one set of sheets washed and ready. Think of all the worry that would be eliminated as you (I) try to remember when I need to have the sheets washed and the bed made. So much easier and less stressful to plan ahead and have bedding ready when you need it.

3. Breakfast is most often on your own.

I am a late sleeper and some of my guests get up at the crack of dawn! The night before, I will put out cereal and bagels, and direct them to eggs and yogurt or anything else in the refrigerator that may be available for breakfast. I tell them to help themselves and to root around until they find something they want to eat. It was worked out quite well. I will also set up the coffee pot with fresh water and place a pod and a mug nearby for my guest to make his/her own morning coffee. (It's a win-win! They have had their coffee and are not grumpy by the time I meander into the kitchen).

4. Let go of perfection!

So many of us want to offer our guests the best experience, a warm and cozy bed and breakfast kind of thing; but the reality is most of the times our life is not like that. Our house may not be clean, dishes in the sink, or toys on the floor. We need to remember that our guests are there to visit with us! Jesus is concerned with a person's heart, not how well their home passes a cleaning inspection or what kind of fabulous meal was cooked. We need to be more like Jesus, especially in the area of unplanned or unexpected guests. Let go of your expectations and live in the moment. Be present for your guests. Find out what they need most and see if you can help out in that area. Be prayerful as you invite someone into your home - for a meal or for a night - and ask the Lord to show you what or how you can serve your guests. It puts a whole different perspective on hospitality when you are there to serve, not to show!

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