"Promise Little, Deliver Much," by Liz Curtis Higgs

I recently asked my friend and “sis,” Liz Curtis Higgs, about hospitality in her life. She said it's very hard because of all the speaking and traveling she does, but she kindly offered this exclusive passage on hospitality for my Reluctant Entertainer readers, from her new release, Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible.

I find valuable the line, "promise little, deliver much," and the fact that Sarah got the food together quickly more to honor, than to make a perfect meal.

Read on to the very last line … “a shared meal…” and you’ll see where this excerpt from Liz’s new book really creates food for thought regarding hospitality!

The tent entrance was a fine place to greet visitors, handle family disputes, and guard the contents of the tent while the dark goatskin walls were thrown open, allowing the desert breezes to pass through.

Curtains separated the commodious space into various areas for sleeping and eating, while woven mats served as rugs, seats, and beds. Perhaps Abraham leaned back into the entranceway to avoid the worst of the sun, not quite escaping the noonday heat as he shaded his eyes from the airborne sand.

Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. Genesis 18:2

We’ve already been told “the Lord appeared,” so one of these three men was God in the guise of a man—a theophany—while the two accompanying him were angels. The phrase “behold, three men” (nasb) tells us they didn’t stroll up; they made a “sudden appearance.”

No wonder Abraham scrambled to his feet to make them welcome.

“Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.” Genesis 18:4

Wasn’t Abe the perfect host? In a dry and dusty climate, open leather sandals were de rigueur, and washing the feet of guests was the first lesson in Hospitality 101. The second lesson? Promise little, deliver much. Bragging about what you had in your pantry was considered tacky.

“Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed…” Genesis 18:5

Why did desert folk bend over backward to make strangers feel welcome? So they could “transform potential enemies into at least temporary friends.” With a nod from his guests, Abraham dashed into the tent to find Sarah and breathlessly ordered their meal.

“Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread.” Genesis 18:6

If a man spoke so brusquely with his wife today, he might find that flour poured over his head. But Sarah understood the need for haste and went about her business, turning their best flour—“a kind of semolina”—into loaves of bread, while Abraham selected a choice, tender calf and ordered a servant to prepare it.

Like a maître d’ at the ready, Abraham stood while the three visitors enjoyed their food, his heart beating with anticipation. A shared meal signified that he and his guests were “at peace, in union” and that God was about to bless him.

Excerpted from Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible
Copyright 2007 Liz Curtis Higgs
Published by WaterBrook Press
Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

(With Liz in Denver last year at ICRS)


Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

I have this book on my reading list already, so it was wonderful to see this post about it. For a long time, one of my guiding life rules was to make few commitments, but keep all the commitments I make. It's been very challenging at times to say "no", but my family and my young children are my mission field right now, and I have to remember that the most important place for me right now is my home.

ValleyGirl said...

I like that phrase, "a SHARED meal." It means so much more than merely hostessing and trying to impress. Great post!

I still haven't gotten around to reading Bad Girls of the Bible, but that book and this one will be on my Christmas wish list! Thanks so much for sharing what Liz shared with you!

Barb said...

Read her Unveiling Mary Magdalene before you read Bad Girls! I'm in UMM right now--really engrossing book. Neat insights in this post too--all the thoughts about not just preparation, but simplicity, honor and blessing. Great stuff!

GiBee said...

Promise little, deliver much -- what an honor it is when you go to someone's house for a meal, a light lunch, or dessert, and you see that they have taken the time to creat a beautiful spread for you! Even if it's fish sticks and mac and cheese -- the fact that they have taken the time to prepare it and serve it is such an honor to me!

Excellent food for thought!

Jenster said...

One of my favorite people ever! I have a very similar picture of myself and Liz taken three days before my mastectomy. I just love her and her humongous heart.

Thank you for this lesson. I'm working on learning it. We made fluffernutter sandwiches and chocolate milk for some friends that stopped by unexpectedly a few weeks ago. (Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboards were bare!) What a great time we had!

Freshly Found said...

I love the title of the book! Lovely and sounds very interesting!

Barb said...

Aaaahhh!!! It's the fluffernutter girl! :o0

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Sounds like a great book! You always have some interesting topics on here, Sandy. Happy B'day to your DD, that birthday party looked like so much fun!