Let's Talk Hospitality

Just recently I was invited to a friend's home. I came home feeling sad and I had to work out why. I reflected on the visit and realized that my friend just wasn't a people person- she was more interested in things than people. It started at the front door just under the "Welcome Friends" sign- another sign demanding that I remove my shoes. OK I thought, as I took them off, I don't want to trample any dirt inside- I can live with that! I was greeted by my friend who I noted had already checked that I was in stocking feet.

 

She ushered me into the immaculate kitchen which smelt slightly of bleach. (I must confess I was hoping to smell cake or coffee though) We exchanged greetings, launched into some conversation whilst she wiped her shining sink, shaking her dishcloth in her hand as she emphasized a point in the conversation.

 

After my friend made a drink for us, I started to relax- until she started wiping up around me. It was hard to make eye contact with her as she was washing the cups and wiping round her white kettle. But I guess the clincher came when I had finished using her bathroom. She went in after me, wiping down the few drops of water on the hand basin and straightening her embroidered towels. I started to feel unwanted and decided to make tracks for home. But before that, I was taken for a grand tour of her spotless home- which was indeed not lacking any thing- except the love and friendship shown through hospitality.

 

As I pondered on these things, I resolved that our next visit would be at my home. She could take her shoes off if she wishes, I will have a cake waiting for her and I will give her my full attention whilst I serve her coffee in my lived-in lounge room. She can leave a few drops of water in the handbasin after she uses my bathroom and if she wishes she can have a look at my home- beds pulled up hastily, cushions squashed slightly from where we sat on the couch, cups waiting on the sink counter to be washed after she left and most of all- a feeling that she mattered more than my things do to me. Isn't that what it's all about after all?

 

Hospitality doesn't die through imperfect housekeeping but cannot exist in sterile surroundings lacking love and friendship. My friend's heart was choked with things and far from me.. I resolve to never be like that. I relaxed and started to plan our next visit as I sought out my cookery book. She likes banana cake I recall.     Glenys Robyn Hicks

 

 "Eat and drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:7 KJV

 

 

 

 Servanthood is for all

What do we think of when we think of someone who is a servant? Most likely, (though we won't admit it) we think of someone who is of a lower social class, needing some form of employment desperately, someone of low self-esteem and possibly of low intelligence. Why do we think like this?

Service is in our vocabulary and mindset, a dirty word. It smacks of subjegation, low earnings, lack of prestige and a vocation for the weak. How wrong these perceptions are! These are worldly perceptions of a noble attribute, for service or servanthood are paramount in the teachings of Christ.

Christ Himself came as a Servant of His Father. He served even to the point of death! Service to the LORD was not an occupation He undertook to fill in His spare time, or a vocation because He couldn't find a better form of employment. Christ certainly didn't lack intelligence, breeding or self-esteem!

Such was the emphasis on faithful service that Jesus says:" And He sat down and called the twelve (who had been disputing who amongst them was the greatest Mark 9:34) and saith unto them, "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant of all." Mark 9:35

Servanthood we see then, is not any of these worldly perceptions: service is godly. And servanthood is clearly not something to be looked down upon as a vocation for the inferior of our species! It is Christianity at its finest! For those who serve are held in high esteem! John 12:26 "If any man serve Me, let him follow Me and where I am there shall also My servant be: If any man serve Me him will My Father honour."

So where does it leave us- the wife and mother? It leaves us in a wonderful area to serve and show faithfulness and love. In our marriage, our mothering of our children, our keeping of the home. Service is not the world's ideal- but it is God's. We have to set our mindset on that which Jesus Himself considers holy- for He took on the role of Servant even to humbling Himself and dying on a cross.

Voluntary servanthood is an act of love in its simplest form. It is dying to self and living for Christ. It is for all of us who wish to serve God to change our mindset of "What about me?" to "What about Him?" How can we serve God better? By taking on the form of a servant. To our family first, then to the world. In changing our perception of servanthood, we will enter into the beauty of Christian service and love: but it needs us to change first.

It isn't an easy thing, to change our mindset on servanthood and I feel that Peter in John 13:6-17 held onto the belief that servanthood was just for the lowly. That is why he baulked at having his feet washed by Jesus just prior to His trial and crucifixion. He just couldn't see that Jesus should lower Himself to do such a menial task as wash his feet! And to accept service from a servant would mean that Peter himself accepted that Christ was his servant! This was so foreign a concept to Peter that Jesus had to tell him that if he didn't wash his feet, he would have no part in Him!

Telling ourselves that we will never serve others or are better than a servant not only goes against the teaching of the Servant of God- Jesus, but also denies us the opportunity to extend God's Kingdom on earth! Let's develop a Christ-like attitude to service as servants of the Most High God!

Glenys Robyn Hicks
 

 

 

 

 
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