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Entertaining vs. Genuine Hospitality

The host that is entertaining says “look at me and my home while you enjoy the things that took me hours to do for you. Oh, and don’t forget your party favors while you’re heading out the door!” It’s from an attitude of believing others are fortunate to be in your presence.

The host showing genuine hospitality says, “yay, I am so happy you’re here! I can’t wait to sit down and visit with you, laugh with you and take care of you while you’re in my home.” It’s from an attitude of believing others in your home are most important and comes from a place where their needs are first.

With entertaining, you’re the host to be honored. With hospitality, each and every person is ‘the’ guest of honor. With entertaining, guests feel pressured to dress a certain way and not “slip up” with something they say, almost as if there is a list of unspoken rules to follow. With hospitality, it is already known that guests will be welcome to come as they are, from whatever place in life they are at…no rules, just love and service.

With entertaining, you’re the host to be honored. With hospitality, each and every person is ‘the’ guest of honor.

For the person who wants to learn how to show genuine hospitality, you’ve come to right place, and I believe these differences are so important to understand. I get it, too—the world in which we live is FULL of expectations, and it’s difficult to not get distracted with what I like to call the me syndrome. I struggle with this, too.

My husband and I completely gutted and remodeled our home and made it special for our family, but he and I are also very much alike in our desires to be frugal so we can use our money to help others. That means with the remodel, there were some things that weren’t as important to us as others. There is an old fireplace in our living room that was leaking a bit on the roof, so we had it sealed off and converted for an insert. But an insert would cost between $3k-$5k to install, and while we could afford the upgrade, our hearts have been pulled to give our money to what we feel are more important things, so for 3 years, there has been a copper gas line hanging down from the fireplace and a bulky electrical box sitting on the hearth. Do you know how many times I’ve been embarrassed to invite someone over to our home because of that fireplace?

While that might sound silly to some of you, I think if we all dug a little deeper to examine our hearts, we might find that we share the same struggles. “I can’t let there be dust all over my bookshelves.” “I have to make sure all the toothpaste splatters are off the mirrors.” “Oh my goodness…those crumbs on the floor!” We’re often so caught up in what others will think of us when they’re in our homes that we forget what the purpose of our hospitality should be in the first place.

It’s not about us. It’s about our guests, and the truth is, the ones who will truly add value to our lives aren’t the ones who would notice the dust, the crumbs or the toothpaste splatters.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to clean and keep a tidy home, either. In fact, the atmosphere, decor and menu for the host who is entertaining or for the host who is showing genuine hospitality can be the exact same with two totally different outcomes. That outcome depends on the heart and the focus of the one who is doing the welcoming. It depends on the goal, and if our goal is to shine the spotlight on the needs of our guests—to build community and trust within the hearts of our guests—we will be successful with our hospitality every time.


Such great insight, I really never looked at it this way. Thank you for making me aware of the difference in entertaining and hospitality.

Laura Galloway
Laura Galloway
Apr 05, 2022
Replying to

Thank you so much!! I struggle with the differences, myself, from time to time, but I hope to continue to grow! 💕


I found so much comfort from your wise and beautiful words. I feel very grateful for finding thank you for being there


Laura Galloway
Laura Galloway
Apr 04, 2022
Replying to

Thank you so much, Julie! I am still a work in progress myself, but I hope, in some small way, to be able to help others as we all grow together.

The Galloways

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