Right Motive

Have you ever asked yourself: Why should I be hosting guests? For what reason? For whom am I doing this?

In my last post I wrote about hospitality. Today I would like to talk a little bit more about the motive of inviting people to our homes.

I’ve told you that I grew up in a home where entertaining guests had been very important. My parents always had masses of food for their guests: meat and sausages to BBQ, along with salads and other side dishes and all kinds of desserts. There was also an abundance of drinks available to choose from, including a variety of beers, sodas, juices and more. The people that came to our house did not need to lift a finger — just sit at the table and wait to be served.

You see, my parents loved to spoil their guests. Their motive? I’m not sure. But I do know that I haven’t been on the right track of hospitality for a long time…

Yes, I’ve always loved it when people were coming over either to my parents’ house when I was younger or later on to my own home. From early on I’ve learned that the house needs to be prepared for guests to arrive, so I’ve kept that up: making sure all the windows are cleaned, all countertops and basins are wiped thoroughly and shiny, all floors are spotless and all the food is planned and prepared to be cooked and served. And that kind of perfectionism was in my system for a long, long time. I was able to relate to my parents’ stress of hosting guests. I began to feel the same way: wanting to have everything perfectly clean and set up before their arrival, worrying of doing a great job while entertaining them, and then longing to have everything clean up and in order again after the guests left.

And, you know what? Eventually it wore me out. I started asking myself: Why am I doing this? For what? For whom? Am I still a good host?

In this world we are so driven by what other people think about us, aren’t we? We want to please them: our parents, our mate, our children, other family members and friends.

Then, we can be driven by wanting to please ourselves: we want to feel good over what we have given — our time, our money and the things we’ve bought for others.

What a different hosting of guests this would be if it were driven by doing (all) things as to the LORD and not as to men (Colossians 3:23)?

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Love One Another

You look at the couple and wonder: How did they ever find each other?

They are as different as they can be — one talks a lot, the other keeps quiet. They both love music but just one of them loves to sing, the other does not. He likes vacations in the mountains, while she prefers going to the sea. How do they manage to keep peace?

What if…

These were the words on the subject line of the email we received early in 2016. Fred, our dear Brother in Christ, surprised us all (including his wife for her birthday in March) with his idea of coming to Ireland. Once the plans were made and the tickets were booked it seemed like ages for the time to pass. Finally, on the 28th of June 2016 at 11:15am they arrived. We knew Fred and Judee for quite some years (through our online Church) but only met Fred once before in Frankfurt. So this was the very first time I met Judee, my precious Sister in Christ. How exciting!

Boat Brother Fred.JPG

The preparations for their visit were still going on when one day my friend came over for a cuppa tea.

She asked me: “Your guests will be over for a whole week? Don’t you think that’s a bit long? Are you sure you will get along?”
“It’s different when Christians come together,” I told her.
“How?” she wanted to know.
I said: “Loving and being merciful — counting others more significant than yourself.”

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

The world explains love in another way: I, me, myself counts more than others. What I desire, what makes me happy is more important than what others feel and think. Even if people do good things unto others, their motivation is usually to gain something in return or so they will have their peace. Many times they will “love” due to ideal circumstances or because the people are okay… as the saying goes What goes around, comes around — You’ll be nice to me then I’ll be nice to you!

Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

For the Christian it is not I love you if… but rather I love you no matter what. We choose to love the person even if s/he does something we do not like or something that is wrong. We need to forgive, we should not gossip and keep no records of wrongs. That does not mean, however, that we will ignore sinful behaviour or call it good.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20

Of course we are not all the same! Some of us like to sleep in, others like to get up early. Some of us enjoy a hearty breakfast, others prefer a bowl of cereal. Some of us love to go sight-seeing, other would rather go hiking. Dissimilarities can become a problem and get out of hand when everyone wants to control. As Christians we know, though, who should be at the ruder: Jesus Christ! When we focus on Him, He will guide our boat even through the rough waters.

Love one another

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:11-18