I am not a morning person. I am, however, masterful at making excuses as to why I’m not a morning person.
Recently I was listening to a podcast about how to become a morning person. The process was simple. It began something like this: “GET. OUT. OF. BED.” Challenge received. It was time to stop with the excuses and start my day right.
When it comes to practicing hospitality this summer, I want to challenge you in a similar way. Stop making excuses and start spending time with your neighbors! What excuses, you ask? Here’s a quick list:
5 Lame Excuses
- I can’t cook.
- My house is messy.
- Money is tight.
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t know who to invite.
There are always psychological obstacles to inviting people into a deeper relationship, but take a look at this list of easy-to-pull-off ideas and consider which ones you could do. Several can be accomplished in less than an hour a week. Many can be spur of the moment.
10 Easy Ideas
- Meet at the local playground.
- Set up the sprinklers in your yard and serve popsicles.
- Host an ice cream social and ask everyone to bring their favorite toppings.
- Make s’mores one night with neighbors.
- Meet at a local gym and take a class together.
- Invite someone to join you on a walk or hike.
- Organize a neighborhood picnic and have everyone bring their own food.
- Share your driveway basketball goal.
- Organize a service day at a food pantry.
- Shop at a local farmers market.
Why Hospitality Is Worth It
As you can see, it’s all about intentionality! Hospitality is a skill that anyone can improve with practice. And it’s worth it.
In his book Unreasonable Hospitality, Will Guidara says something that I find to be remarkably true. Will is describing the secret to his success in the restaurant business and says, “Hospitality is a selfish pleasure. It feels great to make other people feel good.”1
Do you want to spend your life making others feel good? I do. I want to leave a mark on this world by making people feel seen and cared for.
Just the other day a neighbor dropped by and gave me an inexpensive gift that truly made my day. She noticed that I have a tattoo on my arm of six birds, each one representing a member of our family. In response, she brought me a pair of bird earrings that she noticed in the store and thought of me. At that moment, I felt known and loved. And there’s no better feeling than this.
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). I think it’s time we stop making excuses for staying self-absorbed and start making time to show our neighbors our love. It truly feels great to make others feel good. And it’s a large part of what it means to be a disciple.
1. Will Guidara, Unreasonable Hospitality (New York: Optimism Press, 2022), 7.
Lynley Mandrell is the cohost of Lifeway’s podcast The Glass House, alongside her husband, Ben, who is Lifeway’s president and CEO. In addition to her ministry partnership with Ben, she is one of the strategic project managers for Visioneering Studios, working alongside churches to reimagine their facilities and space. A busy mom of four teenagers, she’s often seen at guitar recitals, tennis matches, and in the bleachers of a University of Tennessee football game. Her passions include home renovation projects, Dr. Pepper®, and national parks.