Paper Bowls and Plastic Spoons

I try not to use the world “busy” since that seems to imply “Go Away! Don’t add anything else to my world.”  Full.  “Full” sounds more positive than “busy,” maybe?  Well, this week was full. Full of good things: a quick trip to Portland for The Elisha Foundation board meetings, breakfasts with friends, missions consultations with churches, class preparations, a writing project, a full day of staff training, and in the middle of it all, an evening of hospitality for some female students, most of them unknown to me.

I’ll admit it, I begrudged losing an evening to hospitality.  When I signed up to host through the Women to Women program at TMU a month ago, my calendar was clear that week.  It was convenient to have the students over.  And I don’t have an account on Pinterest, so I felt no obligation to serve cute food or arrange elaborate decorations for the evening.  But by the time W2W came around, life felt busy–not full, but downright busy.

img_8875That afternoon, mere hours before the women arrived, I was reminded of how much my God loves hospitality.  Hebrews 13:1-2 reads: “Let love of the brethren continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this, some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hospitality.  The word in the Greek is φιλοξενία–brotherly love of strangers. 

I stopped and contemplated that the Scriptures are replete with examples and commands of hospitality, from Genesis all the way through.  God’s people provided hospitality to widows, orphans, prisoners, strangers, the poor and needy, prophets, Christian workers, whole churches, foreigners, immigrants, refugees, angels. . . Hospitality is even a characteristic requirement for men who are elders of the church (Titus 1.8).

Even beyond this, one could say that the whole Gospel is illustrated in the act of hospitality:  God, the Creator of the world welcomes sinful man to abide with Him through the reconciliation provided by the work of His Messiah-Son, Jesus.img_8873

The Bible is not just commanding begrudging entertainment, but affectionate love.  Not just a delicious dessert served on a pretty plate, but tender care as if you are serving the Savior (Matthew 25:31ff).  

And if Jesus had walked into my house that evening, He would have had a yogurt parfait in a paper bowl with a plastic spoon, served with a tender (slightly bruised) heart of affection and a side of communal laughter.

As the students and I talked in my home, it was evident that He WAS among us and we were blessed.


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