Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Showing acts of kindness and hospitality.

Monarch butterfly, visiting Anne and Marji's hydrangia.

This week we have family staying with us from Texas.  Anne’s sister Gayle and her family are visiting us and we are excited about having them here.  The weather is quite a change for them since they live in the farthest point south in Texas in the town of Brownsville.  Texas has had record high temperatures with over 70 days of extreme heat.  As I am typing this blog I look outside and see rain coming down with the temperatures now in the 60s.  This is quite a change for our Texas relatives.  It is good having family around us. 

Another monarch taken without a flash.
This time of having visitors to our home reminds me of what God asks us to be, gracious and welcoming to people in our lives.  Paul writes in his letter to the Romans (12:13), “Practice hospitality.  Again in 1 Peter 4:9-10  “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  During this time period when Christianity was new and many lived together, I imagine that many concerns were raised over territory issues and that of sharing with others over what seemed limited supplies of food and space. 

I remember years ago, a minister telling our small Bible group that, “You cannot out give God!  He will always bless you with more than you can imagine when you have a giving heart.”  For me, I have been blessed with a wife who has a giving heart and who wants to bless others with her gift of hospitality.  I have learned much from Anne and her love for others and her genuine caring nature. 

Now I look over the table and notice Anne preparing supper for 8 adults and a number of little kids.  She is in her element when cooking and having family around her.  I love that she has a wonderful sense of giving and hospitality.  That is one thing that as a couple we have prayed for in our home, that of making it a place of acceptance and kindness.  I recall when first married, we lived in a tiny apartment here in Winona.  The neighborhood was quiet, and it also was the same house that I lived in, when going to college.  Unfortunately, the building had a number of challenges in it.  For one, it had bats in the walls, and it had developed mold in the walls over the years.  One night I caught a bat in an open garbage bag in our living room as it swooped by.  Another time, I escorted another bat out the open door.  The house was next to a lake and so it was in a perfect location for bats to eat their fill of insects at night.  Even with these handicaps, Anne made our home a place where many people felt welcome.  People walked away from the special hospitality that she gave them, wanting to return again to our humble apartment. 

Visitors walking by our porch.
We can learn so much from others if we watch for moments of kindness and model for ourselves their acts of love.  I remember years ago watching my cousin Pat walking with his guests outside when they were leaving.  This impressed me greatly in that he made each person visiting his home feel so welcome, even to the point of showing them kindness and respect by walking them each individually to their cars.  I could see each visitor’s expression; they felt blessed and welcome when leaving his home.  Each of Pat’s guests wanted to return to his home because of his many kind acts of attention given to them.   Today, I do the same with my guests; I walk each one to their cars and tell them how much it meant to Anne and myself for coming to see us. 

Family together again.
Pat was and is a good listener.  He listens more than he speaks, and lets each guest know that he cares about them by his attentive acts of listening and responding to their conversation with him.   Do you know of someone like Anne and Pat in your life?  Many times we model the behaviors others see, and for us, we may never know how it has affected them until we get to heaven.  Too many times at funerals we hear about the wonderful acts of kindness that the deceased has done.  Unfortunately, the person who should hear those kind words, is gone on to the next world.  Tell those friends and family members that you admire and appreciate their acts of generosity and hospitality today.  Call them, go over and visit them, don’t wait for the “right” opportunity to do this, it may never come.