Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: You don’t have to be a gourmet chef in order to practice hospitality. Here’s Lisa Tatlock.

Lisa Tatlock: What’s most important is that you’ve invited people to come and join your family and be in your home. The emphasis is not on what you’re serving. It’s on that you have opened your lives and you’ve opened your hearts to these people. That’s what they’ll remember.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Tuesday, July 29. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’ve been talking this week with co-authors Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock about issues related to homemaking. Pat and Lisa, thank you so much for being with us on Revive Our Hearts this week.

Pat Ennis: Thank you for inviting us. We are enjoying our time.

Lisa: Thanks for having us.

Nancy: You have written two books together on things related to biblical womanhood and homemaking, the first called Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God. In that book you talk about many of the practical home management skills that help a woman to create a home where others can be nurtured spiritually, can grow, and how a woman can reflect her relationship with God through her home.

Then you’ve written a second book with even more practical how-to’s, building on the first book. The second one is called Designing a Lifestyle that Pleases God. You get into so many practical areas that relate to sewing, cooking, cleaning, and home management things. Some women are just naturally interested in all this and some women have never been trained or taught why this is so valuable, why it’s so important. You do a great job of helping women understand the value and the how-to’s in these areas.

One of the practical applications of all this that excites me the most for myself and for our listeners is the whole area of hospitality. So help us from a biblical standpoint. Orient us. Pat, why is hospitality important?

Pat: If we’re going to follow the teachings of Scripture, every Christian will be involved in hospitality. Hebrews talks about that we are to be careful to entertain strangers because we don’t know who those people may be. They might be angels.

It’s not a request. It’s not a suggestion. It is an instruction, a direct instruction from our Heavenly Father. Particularly important are those that are involved in ministry. It is a direct command of Scripture that those that are involved in ministry are to show themselves to be hospitable to other people.

That’s one of the ways that we are allowing others to see the heart of our Lord because they come into our homes and, by God’s grace, they see our Christianity lived out. They can’t see that any other way.

Nancy: When you talk about hospitality, what are we really talking about? Is this like you have to have a big, beautiful home? You have to be a great gourmet cook? What is required to be a hospitable person and to exercise hospitality?

Lisa: Well, having a beautiful home and being a great cook really have nothing to do with biblical hospitality. I think that’s why we often feel overwhelmed. Really when we look at hospitality from a biblical perspective, hospitality simply means to love others, love strangers.

One thought that helped me take the pressure off—that pressure feeling of “oh my goodness, what am I going to cook, what am I going to have, and what about the conversation?” was to stop and think about hospitality biblically. Biblically, hospitality flows out of my relationship and love for God. Because of my relationship and love for God, I want to love other people.

If you look at hospitality from that perspective, it’s very freeing because now all of a sudden it’s not about how good I am at cooking or cleaning. It’s about loving others. Most of us would be able to say, “I can love people. I may not be able to cook, but I can love.” That’s what biblical hospitality is. If we look at hospitality from that perspective, it alleviates much of the pressure that we often feel from thinking of practicing hospitality.

Nancy: So hospitality isn’t really focusing on my house or on the food preparation, though those things may be involved. It’s focusing on meeting the needs of others.

Lisa: Right. Your food preparation and your home—those are just tools. Those are just things that you use to meet the needs of others. The emphasis in Scripture is on meeting those needs, whatever that might be. Sometimes it was feeding them. Sometimes it was providing a place to sleep.

Other times it was simply just a ministry of encouragement, listening to someone that has a heavy burden on their heart right now, just sitting down over a cup of coffee. That’s hospitality. Shuttling a neighbor’s kids around that might have a particular need, that’s hospitality.

Nancy: So it’s really just being thoughtful of the people that God has put into our lives.

Lisa: Exactly. Oftentimes hospitality is thought of as a women’s issue. It’s not. It’s a spiritual issue. Men are commanded to be hospitable as I think Pat has already mentioned in the list of qualifications for elders and church leaders. They are commanded to be hospitable.

Nancy: That also suggests, by the way, that if the wife of one of those men who is an elder or a deacon is not hospitable, she can keep her husband from being qualified for spiritual leadership in the church.

Lisa: Exactly. We can limit our husband’s ministry if we are not willing and able to be hospitable women ourselves.

Nancy: I think one of the things that is daunting to a lot of us about hospitality is that it does involve sacrifice. It takes time. It takes effort. We are already so busy, so generally as women stressed out anyway, we feel like this is too much to ask for me to do one more thing on my to-do list.

Lisa: Hospitality is very costly in time and energy and even financially. It can be. So you have to make an intentional priority to be a hospitable person. I think you need to begin to view hospitality as a form of giving. We know in Corinthians it says God loves a cheerful giver. So all of those sacrifices that you’re making in time and energy and finances, it’s part of your giving.

I really believe as you make those sacrifices and efforts to be a hospitable person, a hospitable woman and create a hospitable home, the Lord will bless you for that. The Lord will bless you in the sense of, for example, maybe you had to stay up a little bit later to get your meal prepared or your home cleaned. I really believe the Lord will be faithful to provide the energy that you need the next day.

Or perhaps you did have to sacrifice a little bit from the budget perspective. I really believe the Lord will be faithful to meet your needs because see we’re being obedient when we’re being hospitable so we can be confident in the Lord meeting our needs, whatever those might be.

Nancy: One of the things I so appreciate growing up in a very busy home with seven children was that my mom involved us often as part of the process of hospitality. I can remember hulling strawberries until I thought all the strawberries on the planet have been picked for this gathering. But letting us be a part of welcoming guests, of preparing, of the clean-up process too sometimes. So this can be a part actually of training your children.

Lisa: It can be. I think you have to be intentional about that, however, because it’s not always convenient, but it’s so worth it. What you’re training them and what you’re investing in their little hearts and their little lives about the skills as well as the character is well worth the extra time that it takes.

Nancy: So, Lisa, you talk about planning ahead. Do you ever do spontaneous hospitality, you and Mark in your home?

Lisa: We do. There’s a lot of times we’ll bring people home. You can even plan ahead for that, however. You can keep things on hand in your pantry, for example. Things for simple desserts or at least have drinks—coffee, teas, sodas—around. So you can even plan ahead for the spontaneous moments so there’s the freedom to be spontaneous.

Nancy: How simple is okay?

Lisa: I think as simple as you want to be. I think what’s most important is that you’ve invited people to come and join your family and be in your home.

Nancy: That kind of feeling loved and welcome can happen over popcorn and pop.

Lisa: Exactly. Exactly.

Nancy: Pat, you and I are both single and yet we have both enjoyed using our homes to be a place of hospitality and to minister to the needs of others. This is not something that’s just for married women. How have you found hospitality something you’ve been able to exercise in your season of life?

Pat: I’ve had many opportunities to exercise hospitality as a single woman. When I clean the house and leave it in the morning, it’s usually clean when I return in the evening, unlike Lisa who might need to pick up the toys one more time.

Nancy: Having already done it several times.

Pat: Exactly. As single women, it’s important for us to not always look to someone else inviting us in because we are single, but rather us perhaps creating an environment for people who are weary of fixing one more meal.

It doesn’t always have to be women. I think we get kind of stuck on that. We don’t want to invite a group of single men by themselves over, but the intergenerational and the gender split is a very important part. We don’t have to isolate ourselves as single women.

Nancy: I have so loved having families in my home. My home is set up so that families really can—there’s a place where the kids gravitate to immediately where they can have fun, or sometimes we’ll just sit together around the fire. I have developed some just precious relationships. Rather than waiting always to be invited into someone else’s home, I have found a lot of joy and blessing through bringing others into my home.

Yet, Pat, I can hear some women saying, “I work a 40-hour-a-week job, maybe more. I’m the breadwinner for my little home unit. The thought of opening my home and putting a meal together or preparing my home to bring company—individuals, much less a family—is kind of daunting for me. Does this really need to be a priority in my life as a single woman?”

Pat: Absolutely, it does because it enriches our lives in a way that we can’t be enriched in any other way. As single women, or I’m sure this could be true with single men as well, we can become very focused, we can become very narrow in our little world. We go and come the same way to work every day and work with the same people.

Having hospitality and inviting people in allows us to explore our horizons, to build our interests and most of all to show the compassion and the care for other people just as the Lord Jesus did. I think many times we forget that the Lord Jesus was single as well. His whole focus was to go out and to meet the needs of others. Rather than to look for His needs to be met, He came to serve others.

Nancy: I don’t want to speak for you, but as a single woman I have found that it’s very easy to become self-centered and to have my whole world revolve around me because I don’t have people in my home constantly making demands on me. I’m not put into a position daily in my home where I have to serve because I’ve lived alone for 25 years.

So when I extend hospitality to others, it puts me in a position of choosing the pathway of servanthood, choosing the pathway of giving rather than taking and that has been really, really good to protect me from that downward trend of self-centeredness.

Pat: That’s correct, Nancy. I want to remind all of us that regardless of our season in life and our status, it’s not necessarily ever convenient to entertain and offer hospitality. If we waited to do that, we would never do it. The rewards so far outweigh the investment that I would just encourage women to take the step of faith and just do it.

Titus 2 verses 3 through 5 gives a list of skills that a woman is to be able to execute. They are to be able to manage their home well. They are to learn to love their husbands. We don’t think about that being a skill that must be acquired, but we are taught that women are to learn to love their husbands.

They are to learn to keep an orderly home and a happy home. Then the verse tells us that it is to be all done not to simply have an environment that is a magazine picture or a Norman Rockwell picture of the ideal family, but it’s so that God’s Word is not discredited. I think if we look at society, even though women have much theological knowledge, if the skills are not being transferred to the next generation, we are discrediting God’s Word.

While I don’t have any children of my own, my roommate’s sister (who is now married and actually has a college graduate) lived with us for a year. I spent a lot of time teaching her skills while she lived with us. The relationship that was built during that time gave us a foundation for a relationship that we could have never had from just sitting and discussing a book.

Nancy: So Titus 2, just to set the framework here, talks to older women about teaching younger women these character qualities, these skills of home management, of family relationships. You’re saying a lot of that training, a lot of that mentoring takes place not just in a classroom setting, but in the context of real life.

Pat: That’s right. It’s doing together. It’s praying together. It’s working through a difficult situation. When you have someone that you are mentoring, you’re not always going to see things exactly the same way. Lisa and I are two very different people, but we have a very deep love and respect for one another. At times we have to work through issues. But all that working through those areas, both in skill and interpersonal relation, is what builds the relationship. That then becomes a model that we can invite other people into our lives.

Older women need to show that they are approachable as being willing to train. They shouldn’t walk up to a young woman at church and say, “I think that I need to mentor you because you have some deficiencies that I see need to be corrected.” But the older woman needs to reflect an availability and an openness that she’s approachable to teach the things and of course her lifestyle needs to be credible to do that.

Nancy: I have some friends who are now going through the empty nest season of life and wondering because they’ve been pouring their lives for years into their children, into their growing family. Now their children are gone and they’re saying, “What is my mission?”

One very important area could be those women taking younger women under their wing who are maybe just starting their families and really needing some encouragement, needing some practical life skills, needing to have someone they can go to when they have a question. What do I do when this two-year-old is going through whatever? Or how do I juggle all these different things going on in my family and my home right now?

Those older woman—they may not be old—but those older women who have some more life experience really can be and need to be investing in the lives of some of these younger women who are starting their families and really want to be trained.

Pat: On the other side of that, the younger women also need to have a teachable spirit. There is a lot of wisdom in the older woman’s life, but so many times the young person doesn’t gravitate immediately to an older woman. So cultivating as a younger woman a teachable spirit so that you’re not always chafing against the counsel and the direction that an older woman would give but that you have a teachable spirit.

Nancy: Well, the book of Proverbs talks often about how the wise person not only is open to counsel, but seeks counsel. I think it’s been so valuable in my own life as I was a younger woman to approach older women and to say, “Can you teach me about these practical areas of life where I want to develop?” I found some wonderful, godly older women who really have invested in my life and have helped me develop in practical areas in my walk with the Lord, my ministry, my homemaking skills, have just been so helpful.

Sometimes they may be afraid to approach us as younger women. The younger women need to approach maybe an older woman and say, “I want to learn. Could you help me in some of these practical areas?”

Lisa: As you look for someone to mentor you, it does not have to be someone who’s exactly like you or even completely arrived in her position in life. She may still be in process herself and learning things spiritually. Mentoring is "iron sharpening iron." When you look for someone to mentor you, you’re looking for someone who is older and more mature spiritually and is wiser and can give you godly counsel but is not necessarily the same in temperament or personality. I think we confuse that sometimes. We’re looking for godliness.

Nancy: The vision that God has given to you two women is for training up a new generation of women who have a heart for the home and have developed the character and life skills to develop homes that reflect the glory of God. You’re living out that vision in part through the Master’s College and the home economics program.

I think there are some of our listeners who are young women who are perhaps asking the Lord what He would want them to do for further education or training or some moms with daughters who are trying to train up their daughters to be godly wives and mothers and homemakers. Tell us just a little bit about the home ec program path that the Lord used you to help start some years ago at the Master’s College and why that might be a program that some young women might want to consider.

Pat: Home Economics is a preventive discipline rather than crisis intervention. So our focus at the Master’s College Home Economics Department is to train godly women so that they can start out on the right foot for a successful life, whether it’s single, ministry, married—whatever the Lord calls them to. Our focus is to cause them and challenge them to become complete in Christ. Then whatever God calls them to do, they can do it with expertise.

We start with a character development phase so that they are more focused on becoming the right person, becoming a woman who pleases God. Then we add the skill and the cognitive information—the information part—so that they are really skilled and ready to step out into a world that is a very unstable world now. But if they can step out with confidence knowing that they are a woman that God can use wherever He places them, that they have a strong foundation in Scripture, and then they have many skills and much information to make them successful. They become a victor in the fight against Satan’s battle against the family rather than a victim.

Nancy: One evidence of that I thought was neat that you shared with me earlier, that is over almost 30 years of your training young women in home economics programs, you said about 98% of them have ended up married. Tell us about the divorce rate of those who’ve gotten married.

Pat: The divorce rate is between 1 and 2% of all of those that have married. Even in those situations, those were situations that were things really beyond their control. It was not things that they really contributed to. So the success rate really does validate Scripture that as women are trained to be godly women and as they practice and as they turn around train others, God’s Word is blessed and there is success in the family.

Nancy: We’ll have more information on our website, ReviveOurHearts.com, for those who would like to know more about the Home Economics Program at the Master’s College. I would encourage some of our listeners, some of their daughters, of the moms who are listening to consider going to a school like this.

There are very few programs at a college level in this country that are training women from a biblical standpoint to be godly women, wives, moms and giving them the life skills and equipment to do that from a biblical standpoint. So that may be one thing that some of our listeners would want to consider.

I don’t know whether you consider yourself an older woman or a younger woman or maybe like me, you feel a little bit inbetween those. But let me just encourage you to ask the Lord, “Is there an older woman that You’ve put in my circle that I should approach and ask to help train me, to help teach me, to help nurture me in the ways of God or in some specific areas of spiritual disciplines or disciplines and skills related to the home?”

Then if you consider yourself an older woman, maybe you’ve had a little bit more life experience, ask the Lord, “Is there a younger woman in my church, maybe a high school student, or a college-age student or a young wife or a young mom, someone who’s in an earlier season of life that You would want me just to befriend, to develop a relationship with, to make myself available, to encourage, to help mentor in the ways of God?” Remember that it’s our responsibility as women to pass the baton of spiritual truth on from one generation to the next.

O, Father, how I pray that You would help us to be faithful with that mandate to develop hearts that love You, that love others, and then to cultivate homes and lifestyles in those homes that are pleasing to You. O Lord, how we need women who have a vision for developing homes that are a place of beauty and peace and calm and nurture and love, homes that reflect the beauty of Christ.

Lord, help us as women, depending what season of life we’re in, to be a part of that mentoring process, to be learning and teaching, learning and teaching, training the children that You have put into our homes and then training other women that You give to us through the course of our lives to help them be lovers and followers of You as well. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss in a series called Home-making is Not a Dirty Word. She’s been helping us to develop the type of heart for hospitality that God has shown us. Today’s guests can help you work out some of the practical issues related to hospitality and also help you continue to have a Christlike heart as you serve others.

They talk about this in their book, Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God. It’s full of practical ways to become a better homemaker. It includes a full chapter on hospitality and gives advice on meal planning and budgeting. We’ll send you a copy when you help support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with your donation.

We’re able to be on the air thanks to the support of our listeners and your gift will help continue making this ministry possible in your area. To say thanks for your donation, we’ll send the book, Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God. Ask for it when you donate by phone. Just call 1-800-569-5959 or you can donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

This is the year of the true woman at Revive Our Hearts. We’re hearing from a lot of women who have wisdom and experience in biblical womanhood. We continue the theme tomorrow when two authors tell us about the politically incorrect wife. I hope you’ll be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Wesley Eyster: Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries, and my mom is a true woman.

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