Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever.” John 6:35, MSG

In my New Jersey Italian upbringing, the practical manifestation of abundance took the form of tupperware containers heavy with leftovers. The common stereotype of the Italian grandmother holding true, the mandate to eat was ever present, if unspoken, and get-togethers were guaranteed to be filled with loud laughter, big hair, and heaping plates of food.

My mother married into a full-blooded Italian family, and over time she adopted the fear of guests leaving our home hungry. She wore the reality of “too much food” like a badge of honor, and when family and friends were invited to our house to eat, the meal planning began weeks beforehand, and the list of items stretched down the page in a seemingly never-ending column. Spaghetti, stuffed shells, homemade gravy (sauce to you non-Italian amici), salads, bread, chicken parmesan, and sausage, peppers, and onions, just to name a few. Occasionally in the weeks preceding the event, my mom would ask, “Do you think this will be enough?” And only rarely, closer to the actual date, would she second guess her list and ask, “Do you think this is too much?”

Inevitably, the day would come and our home and yard would be full with family from near and far. The dining table would be arrayed with a spread to rival any royal feast, and my mom would rarely leave the kitchen, always making sure people had enough and the serving dishes weren’t left empty. After all was said and done, my mom would have a sore back, tired feet, and heaps of leftovers to either give away, or store in our fridge. It was a deeply satisfying thing in our family to know that those who left were doing so with full stomachs.

As an introvert (and an Italian? Surely there is no such thing!) I do not often host large groups of people. My brand of hospitality is of the one-on-one variety. However, it is no less important to have that one guest leave as full as the dozens of guests left my parents’ home during my childhood. The question I ask myself now is, “What do I want there to be an abundance of?”

family gathering

Food is a symbol of the spiritual, a sacramental piece of our life as believers. Jesus often referred to himself as Bread from heaven, the sole source of sustenance which satisfies the deepest hunger known to man.

How then do we share Him? By feeding with food, yes, but also with the intangibles that don’t fit on a plate. It is not enough as believers to give tupperware-housed leftovers to those who come into our homes. We must also provide leftovers of a spiritual kind, a filling up of spirits in addition to stomachs, so that those who leave do so with an abundance of grace, knowing the love of the One who sets the divine example of “welcome”.

What would it be like to have our guests, instead of saying we outdid ourselves in the kitchen, say we out did ourselves showing them kindness? What if word on the street was that friends never felt as good and full as when they left our doorsteps? The ache in me to be that kind of host presses insistently on my heart, even as I juggle family, homeschooling, and community, and weeks pass without me issuing an invitation to anyone.

Nonetheless, the ideal is here; the example is set. For me, it lies somewhere in the overlap between the Italian “mangia, mangia” of my youth, and the clear and grace- filled words of a welcoming Savior:

“Come, and be filled.”

Slow Cooker Sausage Peppers and Onions
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
  1. 5 lbs Italian sausage– hot, sweet, or a combination 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  2. 1 large can tomato puree
  3. 1-2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  4. 1/4 c. + grated parmesan cheese 1 tsp. dried basil
  5. 1 tsp. dried parsley
  6. 1 tsp. dried oregano
  7. garlic powder
  8. pepper to taste
  9. 2-3 large onions, sliced
  10. 4-5 large bell peppers, sliced
  1. Spray crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle sausage with garlic powder and lay in a single layer on baking sheets.
  3. Broil for 10-15 minutes or until sausage begins to brown.
  4. You do not need to cook it through.
  5. Mix all sauce ingredients in slow cooker.
  6. Add sausage, onions, and peppers and mix to combine.
  7. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve with mashed potatoes, pasta, or in hard rolls.
  1. {Side note: in my Italian kitchen, all amounts are subject to adjustment based on preference and/or mood. I rarely measure.}
Grace Table

Christine Hiester / Posts / Blog
Christine Hiester: 50% Italian by blood, 100% Italian by gesture and appetite. Introvert. Artist. I spend my days learning to abide in Christ even in the midst of a busy homeschooling life with four not-so-little-anymore kiddos, and an amazing musician husband. I am on a journey, trying to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in all things. Even crowds. And parties.
  • Avatar
    Traci Rhoades

    Christine, I want your mom to feed me sometime! But your post did such a great job of driving the point home. Whatever kind of “hospitality” you feel led to offer, make it about kindness and encouragement. You did a great job weaving the tale!

    February 27th, 2015 14:42
    • Avatar
      Christine- Fruit in Season

      Thanks Traci! Some stories are just easy to tell, and some people are just easy to brag on. 🙂

      February 27th, 2015 22:48
  • Avatar

    I want to thank you all for this beautiful month of Quiet Hospitality. Some time ago I had designated February as a month to work on developing my hospitality. As an introvert and a single mom of an adult with severe disabilities, I was thinking it would be a difficult goal. Early in the month I came across this blog for the first time and, by the mercies of God, the emphasis on quiet hospitality gave me allowance to do hospitality in a way that fit me. I never did have the big dinner party I had anticipated trying to figure out. I did, however, have my little grandson spend his first night at my home; I invited a friend to talk over lunch; a new friend from China came to discuss faith in Jesus over tea and came back again to show me how to make Chinese dumplings for the New Year. Thank you for your encouragement to be hospitable without anxiety!

    February 27th, 2015 15:44
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      Christine- Fruit in Season

      Such beautiful- and quiet- victories, Mary! And all in the name of Jesus. <3 I'm so glad you've followed along and been blessed this month, as have I.

      February 27th, 2015 22:47
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    Leah Adams

    What a beautiful post! I have so enjoyed all the “quiet hospitality” posts in February. Each has spoken into my heart, just as this one did. I want people to leave my home full of love and Jesus, and counting the days until they can return for another heaping helping of both. Blessings to you!

    February 27th, 2015 16:15
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      Christine- Fruit in Season

      Me too Leah! I have loved this month’s focus. Sometimes as an introvert who doesn’t “do hospitality” the same way as my more extroverted friends, I can be tempted to think of my version as less-than. God has been opening my eyes to the ways I can and do serve in quiet ways. Have a wonderful weekend!

      February 27th, 2015 22:47

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