Entertaining VS. Hospitality

Posted on May 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

“Tonight I will be entertaining several families from my children’s school.”  What’s the difference between Entertaining and Hospitality?  Many people often use these two words interchangeably.  Although, they have two different meanings.



Impresses people Makes people feel welcome and wanted
Demands perfection Flexible, leaves room for openness, honesty & errors
A taskmaster that enslaves A freedom that liberates
“I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating, my gourmet cooking.” “This home is not mine.  It is truly a gift from my Master.  I am his servant, and I use it as he desires.”
Puts things before people

“As soon as the house is clean, that room is painted and we get a new couch they can come over”

Puts people before things

“We have holes in our couch, that room isn’t finished, but invite them over anyways because I want to bless them and to spend quality time with them.”

Entertaining looks for payment – the words “My isn’t she a remarkable hostess” a return dinner invitation, a job advancement for self or spouse, esteem in the eyes of friends and neighbors.  Hospitality does everything with no thought of reward but takes pleasure in the joy of giving, doing, loving, serving. 

The information in the graph was gathered material from Karen Mains’s book Open Heart, Open Home.

 No one likes washing the dishes.   Luke 14:12 – 14 says “He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”


In Luke 14:12–14, Jesus challenged the conventional understanding of hospitality which assumed reciprocity and focused on family and friends. Rather than inviting those who could repay hospitality, he said, hosts should invite the poor and needy, who are unable to do so.  WHEN WE ARE HOSPITABLE, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME MORE LIKE JESUS THROUGH WASHING DISHES, BUYING THE GROCERIES, SPENDING TIME COOKING)


Which do you do more?To what degree has my understanding of
hospitality been shaped by cultural norms rather than biblical norms?


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