In her more recent book, Teatime Discipleship: Sharing Faith One Cup at a Time Sally, Clarkson goes into great detail concerning the joys and benefits of sharing a cup of tea with someone. For insight and perspective into building relationships with others at home, I highly recommend Sally’s book, paired with Rosaria Butterfield’s best-seller: The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World.
Both books discuss ways we can use our home to invite others in. We can create a resting place for our family, other believers, and unbelievers, simply by utilizing our home well. I have always been a proponent of ministering to others through my home. But last year, inviting people for tea became a highlight of how we shared hospitality.
I know each person is in a certain season of life, and there once was a time, I could only manage one hospitality endeavor a week. Now, that my children are older, I find it very easy to invite anyone over for tea, short notice, or someone we just met. My children love to chip in and set the table, brew the tea, and lay out snacks.
Tea is fun and un-intimidating for most people. Inviting people over for tea also allows me to have guests over during the day. Daytime visits, keep my evenings more free for my family, and yet allows me opportunity to open my home to others and get to know them.
Tea is child friendly. Unlike coffee, which can be high in caffeine and bitter to taste, there are a lot of choices when providing tea. I can offer an assortment of options, with or without caffeine. My children all have a personal favorite, and if we have other children join us for tea, most mothers are comfortable with their children enjoying a cup or two.
Tea is cheap. Even though there may be initial expense in a container of good tea, overall, it stores well and only takes a few bags or Tablespoons to make a medium pot of tea.
I can use items I have already for tea snacks. I do not aim for a proper British tea when serving tea. My goal is fellowship, and that can be had around anything I have in the house. I can fill celery with peanut butter, make a few mini muffins, cut some apple slices, dip dates in chocolate, put cream cheese and finely sliced cucumbers on a tortilla and roll it up, make deviled eggs, melt chocolate over nuts…I rarely buy anything special at the store for our teas. I simply utilize the foods we have at home for savory or sweet. I keep sugar cubes on hand, just for tea, and we usually have milk, cream and/or half-and-half in the fridge. Of course, we always have tea.
People with food sensitivities can eat obligation free. Unlike sitting down for a meal, guests at tea are expected to pick a few items and not eat a bite of everything. Tea allows my guests to have a certain freedom with what he or she eats. Sometimes, a guest will just drink tea and not eat at all, other times, there is much festive indulgence. It is all up to the guest what is put on his or her plate.
Sharing Tea is a fun way to get to know people. Everyone I have ever invited is very excited to come for tea. I have had women who are very feminine minded dress up to the nines in fancy tea attire. I have had women enjoy a cup of tea in jeans and a t-shirt. No matter the kind of lady we have, each one has been thrilled to join me and my children for a cup of tea.
Having Tea is unintimidating. Sharing a cup of tea (especially if children are present), puts people at ease. Tea is a strange mix of formal and casual. Since it is not a sit-down dinner, people see tea as more relaxed and simple than a meal. It is also formal enough, for everyone who sits at the table to feel special.
Setting up and hosting friends for tea is training my children in an art of hospitality. My children are working on character traits of kindness, gentleness, and thinking of others. Tea provides them with the opportunity to focus on all of those things as they help me prepare and show love to our special guest(s).
Ok, those are a multitude of reasons I enjoy sharing a cup of tea with people, and I have a lot of other reasons too, but those are the main ones that come to my mind. I am truly grateful for the Lord’s provision of little things like tea, that we can use to connect hearts and bless others.