Biblical Hospitality with Guest Ruth Schwenk

Toward the beginning of our book of study A Life That Says Welcome, (on page 35 to be exact) I talk about many biblical examples of hospitality. Today’s guest leads us through unpacking one of the great examples from the pages of scripture, Abraham.

Meet my awesome friend and clever mom, Ruth Schwenk!

Like you, Ruth wears many hats!  She is the wife of a pastor, who is her best friend and the love of her life.

She is a blessed homeschooling mother to her four beautiful children, and she eagerly waits meeting her five others in heaven. Ruth is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL.  She has a passion for following God, leading worship, rescuing orphans, and inspiring others to create a God-honoring family.

On August 1st, 2011, Ruth launched The Better Mom .  It is a site dedicated to moms who want to be better moms by sharing life and learning together, to the glory of God.

Most days, the thought of opening our house to people takes a back seat to the task of keeping our house in one piece. Hospitality? Like most moms, the thought is almost humorous!

I have always been a “people person”. Then I had 4 children and I had a house full of people all the time! I was constantly entertaining. ;) My zeal for hospitality was lost to survival.

Whether you are a mom or not, we all have so much stuff that is filling our lives that finding room for hospitality is nearly impossible.

One of the first acts of hospitality in the Bible is described in the Old Testament book of Genesis. We often think of Abraham as the father of faith, but he should also be highly regarded as the father of hospitality. Both he and his wife Sarah demonstrate for us a great picture of the hospitable family. Genesis 18:1-5 says,

The LORD appeared to Abraham near the
great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent
in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing
nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to
meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, “If I have found favor
in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.
Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and
rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be
refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your

Hospitality is not only important for me personally, but it is also important for our family. As a mom, I want my children to understand the need to sacrificially give our lives to encourage and inspire others. Like anything, this must be intentionally taught and demonstrated to have lasting impact.

Following are three things we learn from the story of Abraham’s example of hospitality. They are also great reminders of how to teach hospitality to our children.

1. Abraham WELCOMED his guests – He had eyes for those who were in need. Abraham did not wait for a need to be known. He initiated an invitation. Helping our children learn hospitality means helping them see the needs of others.

2. Abraham SERVED his guests – True hospitality always has our guests on display, not our home. We are not the center, but our guests are. Helping our children learn hospitality means teaching them that our guests are the center of our attention when we invite them in.

3. Abraham REFRESHED his guests – He was focused on refreshing, not impressing. Helping our children learn hospitality means teaching them to see that we desire to see people leave more encouraged, strengthened, and refreshed then when they came.

I encourage you today, no matter how busy you are, to sit down with your family and take a look at your calendar. Make a list of friends and families that you are going to invite in to your home, and put it on the schedule! And don’t forget…get your children involved in helping plan, prepare, and welcoming your guests in.


I have a FANTASTIC giveaway to add a little warmth to your entertaining!! This adorable Ladybug Teapot, and 2 Ladybug Mugs from Pumpkin Seed Press!

Pumpkin Seed Press publishes and carries fantastic mentoring and character training materials and products!

To enter the giveaway leave a comment below and tell me one thing you do to make your guests feel especially welcome.


Thank you so much for letting me share in this hospitality series with you all!

I would love for you to join me over at The Better Mom, where thousands of mom gather to learn and grow every day!


  1. Im sorry to say that I can’t think of anything special I do. I rarely entertain, that’s why I decided to join this bible study. I love the ideas and will make it a point to try several of them – my excuse to invite friends over

  2. I try to have some of my guest’s favorite foods and drinks on hand when they arrive.
    If it is someone that likes sweets, I have a small decorative bowl with chocolates in it on the night stand.

  3. I am a hugger, so I usually give our guests a hug when they get there and when they leave. We also walk out with them and usually wait on the porch till they are headed out or if it is cold we stand at the door and wait. We might flip the light off and on to say goodbye one more time and then turn out the light once they are out the drive!

  4. I try to make my guests feel like they are welcome to stay as long as they need/want to. I’m usually in bed by 9 pm because I have to get up early for work but when I host ladies night I try not to do anything that makes them feel like its time for them to leave even if its after 9 pm. I may have to go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes but I figure the dishes will be there the next day but my guests will not be.

  5. I try to hold off on the cleaning up until after the guests have gone. I tell them I would rather spend time with them instead. Usually what happens, though, is the women say, “No, we will help you clean up!” Either way, I’m spending time with my friends or family!

  6. WELCOMING- My favorite thing to do for my guests is to leave a note for them individually along with a little gift or two for them. SAYING GOODBYE-My family usually has a tradition of waving out the window to our guests until we can no longer see them. (I remember as a child my grandmother doing that, and it meant so much to me as a child, to feel like someone will miss you, and also enjoyed your company so much that they followed you to the window to say good bye. :0)
    What really hit home with me was your comment about making the guest the center of the attention, not your home, or yourself. Focus on Refreshing, not impressing…LOVE IT!!!

  7. I like to be sure the toilet paper roll is full or there is extra available and a clean hand towel…be prepared so I’m not running around like a crazy person..if I know there are little ones coming I pull out the toys and packnplay or anything they might need.

  8. I have a hospitality bar immediately inside the door where guests may get ice water or a hot drink. The may sip from a mug or glass, or take it in a to-go cup w/lid. I keep the bar stocked with single packs of hot cocoa, apple cider, cappuccino, coffee or 20+ flavors of tea; as well as, sweeteners, creamers, flavorings, toppings, stirrers, straws & napkins. I love to have guests stop by and I want them to know how much they mean to our family. It’s also convenient for hosting Bible study so I don’t spend alot of time preparing drinks. Everyone knows right where to go. We live in a wooded, comfy, lodge type decorated home that says, “Come in & make your self at home”.

  9. I have a jar in the kitchen that holds candy or some sort of treat. The lid to it is has a little chalk board attached to it. When I have guests over I usually write “Welcome Gramma” or whoever the company may be. It’s small but people always comment on it. I think it’s just a small way to say we want you here, we’ve looked forward to you’re arrival, and you’re special to us.
    -Ruth, thanks for the encouragement on including my children in the hospitality process. My little one today helped me set the table, greet the guests, and walk them to the door. It was such a joy to see her learning to be warm and hospitable even if she’s only four!

  10. I try to have freshly baked pie, cookies, cake, bread, muffins or a dessert for planned company. If it is someone who drops in, the coffee pot and teapot are easy to get going. If I have fresh fruit on hand, that can be served with crackers and cheese. A warm verbal welcome for guests and some soft music playing in the background with a lit candle on the table or counter is a good starter for pleasant conversation.

  11. This is something that kind of bugs me. I agree with you about the importance of hospitality…we even included a snippet about it in our marriage vows! But, I feel like in today’s society, people are too busy for such things. I am constantly inviting people over, making it as low stress as possible (don’t worry about bringing anything, just let me cook you dinner!) But, people always have other things to do, or even would prefer to eat out than to do the old-fashioned thing of eating at a friend’s house (maybe that’s just my area?) It’s really bothersome to me, and has made me feel super insecure about it…maybe there is something that people just don’t like about me, you know? So now, I feel like I am more hesitant to try because of the fear of rejection. It’s a constant battle, because I do feel hospitality is important, but just not sure how to get there.

    1. Crystal,
      First off let me start by telling you that There is absolutely, positively NOTHING wrong with you, your home or the way that you are as a person.
      I hope you don’t mind me interjecting, but the Lord just recently brought me through healing of rejection. That is not to say that it is completely gone, because the enemy has risen up even stronger in this area of my life, using now my husband and son even more in this area. But God is faithful and good, and stronger than any enemy attack, and as soon as I take this feeling of rejection to Him, God guides me through the process of how to be rid of that feeling.
      Perseverance, pressing through, prayer are the best ways to conquer the storms in your life. God is with you and has never left you and will hold your hand if you let him. (For some reason the poem, foot prints in the sand comes to mind for you). So don’t give up what is on your heart, keep inviting those people over, and keep pressing in, and I bet you will see a break through not only in the area of rejection, but in your life in general, and you will start seeing God do a work in your heart.
      Lord, I pray for Crystal, please help her find the root of rejection, while sitting at your feet, and seeking your face. Lord, refresh her, renew her, make her the woman of God that you already see her being. You already knew her name, your plan for her life, well before you even created the earth. Give her a renewed strength and direction, and time to sit alone with you Father. Help her to make her schedule around you and not around her schedule. In Jesus Mighty name, AMEN!
      Crystal, the other thing that came to my mind while praying for you was, having people in your home is a form of ministry, not only to your guests but to you, what better would it be for the enemy to keep you from ministering to others as well as them ministering to you, by making you frustrated and frazzled to the point of giving up, with having guests over to your home. Baby steps!!! God is with you sister.

  12. I like my guest to feel comfortable. Our floors can be cool in Canada in the winter so I have slippers that I offer to them.

  13. I always think about “little things” my guests like or things they have mentioned to me previously and try to have them on hand. I try and make a point of cooking one of their favorite dishes of mine…

  14. We greet them at the door and say “Welcome!” I also try to have snacks and beverages that I know will be a hit. I want them to know that I have been looking forward to their arrival and planning for it!

  15. I love —wall words— so I make my own on a cricut and put them everywhere with removeable putty. My word for this month is REJOICE, on my dining room wall in big yellow letters — (and I have a word on my fridge PATIENCE to remind me not to be in a rush!) —

  16. I like to offer them tea coffee water and enjoy the visit w/them. I, also walk my guests to the door and give them a hug before they leave.

  17. I find Playdates a great way to show hospitality. I make sure that at playdates I serve something that the kids and well as Moms like to eat and drink. This is easy to do my just taking notice of what someone likes or calling the Mom prior to your grocery store visit. I also try to come up with a fun craft for the kids to do while the food is finishing get ready if the kids are not helping to prepare the food.

  18. We have guests over frequently for dinner and it is most of the time spontaneous. My husband is known for last minute “come on over for dinner and a campfire” invitations which a I love……but I do feel like I have to be somewhat prepared for guests, so I always make sure I have something in the house that I can make for those spontaneous get-togethers.

  19. I try to stock food and drinks that I know they like. Give big hugs when they arrive. Have their room, bathroom fresh and clean.

  20. Ruth, Thank you for the list of Abraham’s generosity in hosting his guests. I will share this with my daughters during our next Bible share time.

  21. I always keep drink glasses filled, sort of like a good waitress in a restaurant. Additionally, it is relatively easy to take note of whether a guest prefers coffee or tea and whether they use cream or sugar. On return visits I am able to serve their beverage just as they like it. People are always pleased that I remember, it makes them feel special which is the whole point.

  22. My husband and I do not drink coffee or much else other than water so I make sure I have coffee and other beverage options available for guests.

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