Recently, in a concerted effort to get our house sold, we decided to have the carpet replaced throughout the house. If you've ever had carpet installed, you know it is mayhem. Everything in the rooms of your home displaced and moved from room to room. Workers in the most intimate parts of your home...for the entire day, if you have a lot of carpet.
Ours took from morning until supper time, as we had the entire upstairs -- 4 bedrooms, a loft, and 6 closets -- to re-carpet. And for the entirety of our day, three men who we've never met, walked in and out of our closets, bedrooms, and through our front door.
Five of my young boys were home that day, and they looked on with wonder at the work being done, and the workers doing the work. These were men that didn't dress or talk like their teachers at school or church. These were men that took breaks outside in a cloud of smoke. These were men who's bodies were covered with images and words they don't see on their parent's arms and legs. These men worked hard and worked quietly, and like everyone else...had a story. And that story was now spending a day in my home.
When lunchtime came, the boys and I started hunting for what we had to eat. We landed on simple turkey and cheese wraps. My 10 year old offered to help, and while we began to make lunch, I asked him to run upstairs and get a lunch order from the men carpeting: Turkey and cheese with salsa or with mayo/mustard. I assumed they would decline and spend lunchtime away.
But, no. They all wanted turkey wraps. I listened from the kitchen, and each of them paused in surprise, and accepted.
My son ran downstairs with the most enthusiastic smile on his face. I knew what he had just discovered: The joy of hospitality. He worked diligently to compose paper plates of turkey wraps, chips and salsa, and even placed two oreos on each plate. He was delighted and proud. It wasn't the lunch he was proud of...we'd had fancier. No, it was the delight of knowing he was about to bless some hard-working men who were in his home for the day.
One by one the men came downstairs, grabbed a plate and sat outside to eat. One by one, they came in with empty plates and thanked us for the meal. And my boy beamed.
You see, I learned that day, that our children take our cues about hospitality. Our children hear us when we say,
"We don't have anything worth sharing,"
"That's awkward to feed strangers," or
"Let's keep to our business."
They also hear us when we say,
"Share whatever we've got,"
"Give with a cheerful heart," or
"We are blessed to be a blessing."
They value what we value and get excited about what we think is worthy. Let Christ be our true treasure; for when his is worthy, any and all who he brings to us become souls...of value.
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