“Welcome to Burger World. How may I help you?” said a robotic voice emanating from the menu board.
“Hello. I would like a number one,” the woman said.
“Anything else?” the voice asked flatly.
“Yes. Can you tell me if the number one comes with pickles and tomatoes?”
“What does the board say?”
She took another look at the menu. “It doesn’t tell you what’s on any of the sandwiches.”
“Then I can’t tell you either,” said the annoying voice.
“Well, why not?” the woman asked.
“Look lady, I just work here. Do you want the number one or not?”
Gritting her teeth, she said, “I don’t think so.” Then, she drove off. As she passed the pick-up window, she was very surprised. The person behind the robotic voice was John Carpenter, a youth leader from her church.
In today’s fast paced world, situations like this one occur every day. Hospitality has become a lost art. Technology has encouraged us to detach ourselves from our fellow human beings. We have packed up our manners and hidden them in the closet. If we can’t see someone, we feel as if we don’t have to be polite.
Hospitality can be thought of as the giving of oneself to meet the needs of another. In the book of Colossians, 3:12, it states: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy, and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”(NIV) In all situations, we are to put on the habits as well as the mind of Christ. When we, as Christians, allow the hustle and bustle of daily life to change how we relate to fellow members of the body of Christ, what hope is there for those who do not know Jesus Christ? Our imitation of Christ must be consistent in an ever-changing world no matter how we feel. Whether dealing with Christians or non-Christians, we should be mindful of how we handle ourselves.
According to the gospel of Matthew, during the time of Jesus’ healing ministry, he encountered a Canaanite woman. In Israelite history, the Canaanites had always been their enemy. The woman approached Jesus for healing for her daughter who was possessed by demons. She had heard that the Son of Man was in the region. The disciples urged him to send her away because of her “people”. Jesus, however, engaged the woman in conversation. Then, having compassion on her despite their differences, he healed her daughter (Matthew 15:21- 28).
Let Jesus’ example be ours. Hospitality is not just opening your physical home to others, but also your heart. If you want to be technical, your heart is the Holy Spirit’s home. By opening your heart, you give others a peek inside God’s home. If they like what they see, they might want to come in.