Is it possible to practice Biblical hospitality without cooking? Can you be Biblically hospitable without this skill set? I believe the answer is YES and here are 5 practical tips for how to do exactly that!
Can I Practice Hospitality Without Cooking?
Very often we see offering hospitality as synonymous with cooking a beautiful meal and eating it in a beautiful place. It can be that but it doesn’t have to be. Practicing hospitality is all about welcoming others into your real life.
That means if you have a beautiful home or you love to cook, these are gifts that can be used for the glory of God and the good of others.
But, if one or both of those things are not true of you, you can still practice meaningful, beautiful hospitality. But how? If cooking a meal makes you a nervous wreck, how can you practice hospitality in a way that allows you to truly enjoy your guests and serve with joy the way 1 Peter 4:9 commands?
Hospitality is for YOU – No Matter What Your Gifting
I actually really like to cook. I wouldn’t say it is a passion of mine but I know we need to eat, I know it’s less expensive for me to make the food, and so I figure it might as well be made well. I am a decent cook and I do enjoy it. Because of that my hospitality opportunities have always been pretty plentiful with people coming to eat at my house or even coming to learn how to cook.
But, not everyone feels the way I do. For some cooking is an art form, a way to express yourself and bless others. For others cooking is a dreaded obligation (like doing is the dishes is for me!).
In the age of Pinterest, it can begin to feel like the only way we can host is if we can cook well and make it beautiful. But Scripture never says that. God doesn’t say, “everyone who can cook should offer hospitality.” God doesn’t give you that out.
YOU are supposed to offer hospitality generously and without grumbling just the way you are. You don’t have to learn a whole new skill set and you don’t get to avoid it simply because you don’t enjoy cooking. You may need to be a little more creative than your cooking counterpart, but it is possible and it can still be just as beautiful!
Here are some ideas for how to practice hospitality without cooking:
1.Make a simple meal
There are no rules saying that you have to have an extravagant meal. Sandwiches or even a cereal bar are great! A simple meal, with very little prep, allows you the freedom to enjoy guests and not feel like your cooking needs to be the star of the show. It takes a lot of the pressure off and when you are relaxed, your guests will be too.
As a side note, please don’t apologize for this! Not knowing how to cook or not enjoying cooking is not something to apologize for! God makes each of us differently and we should embrace that. Own it, accept it, and share what you have. That is the way to truly bless your guests! Their ability or inability to cook doesn’t reflect on you or vice versus. I promise, everyone will feel more comfortable if you take this approach!
2. Order pizza (or other take-out)
The truth is that ordering food does cost more money than cooking at home usually but its ease still makes it an attractive option sometimes.
Ordering large pizzas and grabbing ice cream makes for a perfect game night meal.
Picking up a few of your favorite things from restaurants around town is a great way to welcome new neighbors and give them a taste of the area.
And it is my firm belief that Chinese take-out is good for any and all occasions.
Or, for a slightly less expensive option, you can go with frozen pizza. Host a movie night with frozen pizza and popcorn or make it as a quick after-school meal to free up other parents from the hustle and bustle of dinner time. You still get to practice hospitality without cooking and everyone is blessed.
3. Go to a Restaurant
I have a friend who doesn’t like to cook at all so, when we are together, we always meet at a restaurant and then head back to her house for dessert (which is something simple like ice cream). This isn’t a financial burden for her family, it is nice for me to go out, and it provides plenty of aids to conversation.
She ends up with very few extra dishes and hosting is all together much easier for her because she takes this approach.
I can order what I like and she doesn’t have to worry about catering to my food allergies.
And, even if you don’t plan to pay for everyone, you can still ask people to go out to eat with everyone understanding that they pay their own way. This is a simple way to extend welcome that gives you almost no added work.
4. Host when it isn’t mealtime
Have guests over for mid-morning coffee (and grab prepackaged cookies or something along those lines) or afternoon tea or game night. One very simple idea is to host a game night that begins around 7. Ask people to bring their favorite dessert or ice cream topping and make it a dessert pot luck. You still have the opportunity to host, everyone know this is a dessert gathering, and everyone gets to contribute.
Other ideas could be mid-afternoon playdates or a mid-morning Bible studies. Be creative but hosting outside of regular meal times is a great way to offer hospitality without cooking.
5. Have a potluck
There are so many ways to do this:
- Make sandwiches and ask guests to bring their favorite soup to share.
- Make a big salad and ask guests to bring toppings and side dishes.
- Make one dish you feel confident with and ask guests to do the same.
- Pick a theme (like international!) and ask guests to contribute a dish.
However you choose to do it, hosting a potluck takes a lot of the pressure off you, as the host, to get everything done and make the meal perfect. It also gives guests the chance to contribute in a meaningful way, which is often something they want to do.
Amazing Host ≠ Great Cook
Offering hospitality and cooking are not the same thing. You can be generous with your offers to host without feeling the pressures of perfection.
God never commanded that we keep a spotless house or be gourmet chefs but He did command that we offer hospitality (1 Peter 4:9, Romans 12:13).
We have the freedom to use our own unique talents and be creative with how we fulfill these commands and we can indeed practice hospitality without cooking.
Rather than viewing your specific gift or lack thereof as a hindrance to hospitality, view it (whatever it is!) as an opportunity to be creative in your blessing of the saints and your evangelism of unbelievers.
Remember, the point of Biblical hospitality is to welcome others into our real lives and to point them to the only perfect One. We don’t welcome to the pretend, behind-the-screens life that offers a false sense of perfection.
Do you have other ideas for how you can practice hospitality without cooking? Let me know in the comments below!