Probably one of the first words you associate with "hospitality" is "cooking". And after the last post, "Why We Eat In, Not Out", it might sound like I think hospitality is only shown in our own homes over homemade food. But actually, the Bible doesn't teach Christians that they must cook for others, but it does teach that they must be hospitable. You can show hospitality without cooking anything! What matters more in hospitality is the caring, not the cooking.
"What matters more in hospitality is the caring, not the cooking."
Perhaps you are in a season of life where cooking for guests in your home isn't something you can do often. You might live with lots of roommates, have just made a huge life transition (like having a baby or moving to a new city) or be chronically ill. Hospitality is so much more than simply sharing food and drink, but since food and drink are so often a part of being hospitable, in this post I wanted to offer three easy idea how you can show hospitality without having to cook.
Have tea, coffee and snacks with your guest in your house.
Having someone over for tea or coffee is about as easy as it gets. I mean, can you boil water and steep tea? I thought so. Cold teas and iced coffees are a treat in hotter weather, and just take a little bit of planning but not much work. It's also easy enough to serve some fruit or snacks. (If you're inviting me, please make me popcorn!) You might even find that you're better able to listen to your guest when you're not worrying about a meal. Just be sure to plan your get-together at a time that is not meal time! If the guest is of another culture or new to your country, be clear with them that you'll only be serving drinks or snacks, so he or she doesn't come too hungry!
Order pizza or take-out to your house.
Invite friends to eat pizza or take-out at your kitchen table instead of in a noisy restaurant. This summer we spontaneously invited a girl from church to come home with us for lunch. My husband ordered two pizzas as we were walking home, and they arrived at the house about five minutes after we did. Spending a few hours with us that day was encouraging for our guest, and that was the easiest lunch I ever served!
Take your guest out for a meal or a snack.
Of course, the obvious way to be hospitable without cooking is to treat a friend to a meal or drink out. While I still think there's a great case for inviting people into your home, eating out with friends is much better than not eating with them at all. Some days you have a couple of hours when you can eat and talk, but not enough time to clean, shop and cook. I get it.
"Eating out with friends is much better than not eating with them at all."
One of the most hospitable couples I know here in Germany might not have guests into their home so often, but they are always showing an interest in people by inviting them out for meals. Because of the location of their home and their full work days, eating out is more convenient both for them and their guests.Their generous, hospitable hearts are obvious no matter where they eat together.
During my first few months in Germany, the wet winter days seemed long and lonely. I would spend my days writing wedding thank you cards, buying groceries from brusque German cashiers, and occasionally crying for seemingly no reason.
One day during those months a local Christian lady treated me to breakfast at a restaurant not far from our apartment. I certainly didn't mind that she didn't invite me to her house—actually, meeting her in the city was more convenient for me than having to learn a new bus system and get to her home. I'm glad she didn't wait to invite me over until she had time to cook, or the invitation might never have come. Her invitation, her interest in me personally, her lack of rush, her generosity in paying the tab: all these things spoke hospitality to me at a time when I needed it.
The heart of hospitality not cooking—it's caring!