Monday, March 9, 2009

Spoilt Lime Juice and Hospitality

Yesterday, I wrestled with my flesh and earthly mindset over a issue that I historically would not have a problem with.

My wife had some friends over in the evening. However during the day, from she came from church, she slept out the entire day. (She attends a first-day church). My soul kind of felt resentment for that, as in my heart and my mind, her rest should have been Saturday and not Sunday.

In addition to this, she complained that we had no juice to give our visitors or guests. And she lamented how she felt not having such juice and that we might have to go on the road to purchase juice. I found myself saying to her that the guests invited themselves, and as such they may not be expecting anything in return. Because they invited themselves, I declared that we were under no obligation to provide juice or refreshments.

In addition, I had a whole lot of work to do. I was trying to complete some readings for a certificate course, plus I had not yet had a bath. But I did not want to bathe yet, until I clean my shoes for school. In fact I had even wanted to do some hedge clippings. And I wanted to do all of this before my daughter woke up (she is 13 months).

Any way, I gave into my wife, suggesting that we could make some lime juice. The guest called to let us know that they were five minutes away. I arose from my study and went to squeeze lime. Yet I was resenting the activity, and fighting my earthly mindset which had not wanted visitors and did not want to be fussy about getting juice for them.

To make matters worse, our house was a mess. Things were out of place and untidy. (When you have an active 13 month old, it is hard for you to keep the house in order.)

The friends arrived, and the juice was not yet ready. Neither was I appropriately dressed, for I wore a shorts with a hole. It was a disaster! The juice ended up being spoilt by one spoilt lime. I attempted to redeem it, but I could not rid the juice of the spoilt lime taste. There was no artificial juice flavours in the cupboard, and I thought in vain about an alternative fruit that we stored that I could use. Eventually, I improved the taste of the juice, but that spoilt lime taste was still there.

This I served my guest, but knowing that I did not give my best. Secondly, I was struggling in my mind saying that I had so much work to do, and I did not need guests now. In addition, the guests are coming mainly for my wife sake. My wife will benefit more from their visit. In my heart I wanted to address the work that existed and not entertain guests.

Yet the Word of G-d came to my mind declaring that my father Abraham was always ready to show hospitality and to stop what he was doing to entertain persons (Genesis 18:2). However, at the time, when the word came to my mind, I counteracted it saying that Abraham could afford to do that for he was rich and had man servants and maid servants.

Then to mind came the stories in the Gospels, where persons were always ready to entertain guests. Zacchaeus also came to mind. Also the fact that Jesus was always be entertained. Martha and Mary's story also came to mind. This counteracted the complaint I had that I had too much work to do and could not receive guests.

But what was even more condemning was the story that Jesus told about the person who in the middle of the night went to knock up his neighbour because he had no food to give his guests (Luke 11:5-8). This person had guests at an inconvenient time, and had to beg his friend/neighbour for food.

As I reflect today, I see how wrong my attitude was. I was a spoilt or sour lime. I tried to mask my distaste for entertaining persons at the time, but the juice betrayed me. I could see that my guests did not particularly enjoy the juice, but they were polite and tolerated it.

Apostle Paul states that we must not be "forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2 (King James Version))Even though my guests were not strangers, how much more am I convicted of wrong as I should be ready at all times to entertain people in my house.

As I reflect other scriptures come to mind. Lot before Sodom was destroyed was at the gate looking for opportunities to be hospitable. The persons that the L-RD sent to investigate the city and its wickedness appeared and Lot immediately went to meet them and invite them to his house to be entertained (GENESIS 19:1-3).

I am learning, and I pray that G-d will give me another chance to redeem myself. I feel like a miserable failure. But G-d has given me life today, which means I have another opportunity to be hospitable to someone.

Even this morning, I resisted the word, stating that being hospitable is a cultural thing and not necessary a spiritual trait expected by G-d of us. I argued with the L-rd saying that in my time, we are very busy and have no time in our culture to entertain guests. Yet I realise how foolish that argument is. Because the L-RD gently stated that so is the Sabbath and all the feast days.

I thank you G-d that your mercy is everlasting and that you plead with me to display righteousness. To the readers of this blog, I say, do not be spoilt limes! Be hospitable! It is a command - God does it (Deuteronomy 10:18)

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