My friend Amanda posted this on Facebook rather than on her blog, so I have pasted it here for people to see.  I have thought about the decline in hospitality over the years and think we are much poorer as a society as a result.  Amanda said it beautifully.

Hospitality Regrets

by Amanda Johnson Free on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 3:17pm
Who doesn’t appreciate another’s hospitality?  How many of us are commonly hospitable?  We all know there is a talent for it that some have.  A gift of throwing the perfect party, of a generous spirit with a gracious and expectant hope that others will be blessed.  Yet, all those who are in the body of Christ are encouraged to be aware of those around us, serving, sacrificial and hospitable.

Last night I attended a party thrown by a woman who is my parent’s age.   I didn’t realize the plans she had!  Crystal, silver, china as well as the guests names were set at places with gifts.  A menu was planned and games were so organized that she matched playing mallets to colored and numbered buttons for her guests to wear.  The winner of the games were given choices of necklaces, bracelets, and rings to enjoy.  Dessert was cheesecake with berries, chocolate and other toppings.  Conversation was lively and the guests who attended were fun and wise.

What, then, was to regret?  The table set had perhaps ten place settings, adorned with names of desired company and gifts.  Only half the ladies who were committed to going were there.  Those missings had their titles proudly displayed at the head of their plates but the plates did not have the smiling faces behind them.

I have seen an attitude prevelent among people my age and younger.  The situation at this woman’s party is not rare.  I have no problem inviting 100 people to my parties, knowing only 20 will come whether their RSVP was ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  No doubt I have exhibited it myself: selfishness in the extreme.  Why do we not follow through with commitments?  So many reasons!  We think our presence is so important and desired that to tell a person who would like to bless us (or even who we might pity) “No, I’m busy (otherwise committed or even need to stay home that night)” would crush their delicate spirit.  We want to keep ALL doors open until the last two minutes so we can choose what most suits our tastebuds at that moment.  And more.  We’re so used to being catered to and taken care of and made-up for by friends and especially family, that we have no thought of other’s investment and sacrifice.  We do not see the importance of recieving grace faithfully, allowing others to express it in their service and love and devotion to the all gracious Lord.

Let me tell you what the consequence was for you who missed:

A decision by the hostess to NOT include women of your/my age bracket again.  So, not only did you miss out on a wonderful night but you have created a spirit of discouragement, a spirit who no longer desires to serve you and who will no longer bless others in the future because your lack of ability to either recieve a blessings or respond with a polite ‘no’.  You cost her quite a lot of money as she invested in the food and the gifts to serve you.  You cost her a lot of time and hard work as she neglected other responsibilities to clean and prepare for a night to spoil you.

May this be a reminder to me, who is guilty of this too often.  And may I say “Thank you so much”.

Let me encourage you to commit one way or the other to invitations, and requests for help, promptly so there is time for other parties to be invited if you decline, or for the host to invest and prepare.  Let your yes be yes and your no, no.