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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)

TITLE: Carmen passes the test
By Alice Lewis


Carmen stood in her doorway waiting to welcome me. I saw her face light up as soon as she recognized me. In warmer weather she would have rushed out to the car to hug me and tell me how much she had missed me. But with the cold and deep snow she remained in her doorway, waiting, smiling from ear to ear. It had been a long time since I had visited with her in person although we telephoned a lot. I had moved away to a distant state but business brought me back home for a few days.

Carmen received visitors whole-heartedly all the time. It didn’t matter if her house was a mess, or if she wasn’t dressed yet, or if she didn’t have her false teeth in yet. She would grin toothlessly at her company and make them feel welcome anyway.

Carmen is genuine to the core. She will say what she really thinks and expects the same honesty from others. She accepts people just as they are.

I didn’t call to let her know I was coming. I wanted to see the genuine surprise and love in her face. That’s a beautiful thing to behold. There will always be a place for me to stay at Carmen’s if I should ever need it. I know that she is a friend I can always call on no matter what.

She hugged my neck off when I came in and put the coffee on right away. “Are you hungry? What can I get for you? Here, take some of these sweet rolls.”
“Oh, Carmen just sit down. I just want to spend some time with you! Carmen’s hospitality comes from the heart.

Dawn is different. I received a written invitation to visit her and her family. She must have spent days cleaning, polishing and waxing everything in her house. There was not one thing out of place anywhere. Everything was perfect. But everything was stiff and formal. She worked hard at entertaining me, taking me places in town and showed me things. She also showed me her newest decorating in her home. Dawn brought out heirlooms jewelry she had inherited from her family, genuine gemstones.

She had set a formal table in the dining room for a luncheon, napkins and spoons all in their proper places. Clumsy me, I dropped some cake crumbs on the floor. She noticed, bent down and scooped them up but didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. Her eyes did all the talking. I felt so inept.

The topic of children came up. I made the mistake of giving her some childcare advice, things that I had learned from experience. I should not have done that. Weeks later it came back to me via the grapevine that I was cutting her down and that that would have to stop if we were to continue to have a relationship. Dawn’s hospitality was for show. She wanted to impress me.

I typed the word ‘hospitality’ into my MSN search engine. I don’t know what I was expecting but I was surprised to find that there is an industry called ‘Hospitality’. I read “Welcome to Hospitality Minnesota Online”. It was a place to find your lodging, your dining, your entertainment places etc. I discovered that this was Minnesota’s largest business trade organization. Spend enough money and you can have anything you want. I imagine that every state has an organization like that. I would call this ‘ hospitality for hire’.

We are advised in Romans 10:13 to practice hospitality. I think that Jesus would react to ‘ hospitality for hire’ in much the same way that he reacted to the moneychangers in the temple. That kind of hospitality is business only, it’s not a thing of the heart, not what the Bible had in mind when it says to practice hospitality.

I also think Jesus would say of the ‘ hospitality for show’ something like he said concerning the Pharisees. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones.” Math 23:27 NIV

Carmen’s hospitality is the kind that fulfills 1Peter 4:9. “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay for the night.” (Living Bible) Carmen would do that. She passes the test of genuine hospitality.

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This article has been read 955 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jessica Schmit02/15/05
I can't believe no on has commented on this article yet. I loved it! It was very well written. I could visualize everything taking place and it hit close to my heart. I find myself wanting to be like Dawn, and in turn, forget about what hospitality really means. Your point is clearly stated and incredibly honest and correct. Great job, hope to see more of your writing.
Phyllis Inniss02/16/05
Your points are well made. We should all aim to be like Carmen, but we know a few Dawns and I don't know them to be happy. Love your story.
Lynda Lee Schab 02/20/05
You did a great job comparing the two women and their different definitions of "hospitality." I'm sure all of us can relate to both.
One small thing - in the first paragraph, I got distracted by too many "me's." Maybe you could reword somehow. Other than that, Carmen did pass the test and so did you - well done! Thanks for sharing.
Blessings, Lynda
Karen Deikun02/20/05
Well formulated, good comparison. Thought-provoking. Good job.