Be Helpful? Be Hospitable! (With Chili, Too.)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, December 13, 2014

people diverse fellowship in the church

Be Helpful? Be Hospitable! (With Chili, Too.)

I enjoy being helpful. Yes, that’s one of my spiritual gifts. That’s what this blog is all about! But, today I also had the opportunity to be hospitable, too.

I took the opportunity to host a holiday open house at the church this afternoon. It was a chance to have a little more relaxed time with people in the congregation, and for me to bring a few things to the church. Like cookies. And chili.

It’s funny. I’ve been using the same chili recipe every time (your basic chili, from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, minus the bay leaf). I did use three different kinds of beans—red kidney, black beans, and white Northern beans. But other than that, it always turns out just a little bit different. Not bad different, but just different different. I wonder why that is?

I suppose I could make that a metaphor for life. Or, more specifically, for the Christian life. The walk with God. I use the same basic recipe. I put in the same ingredients. And somehow, things change. Usually, just a little bit. But, my recipe—my day by day life—changes incrementally. Usually in very small ways, but it keeps on changing.

If I consider the verse for December, from Ephesians 2:10, I have the same basic ingredients in my Christian life; the same ingredients and same basic recipe for the human condition. Yet, I have the opportunity to do marvelous things. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Yes, I am God’s handiwork. Another translation says “God’s masterpiece.” God made these ingredients and put them together in the same basic recipe. And, I have the chance to take these God-given ingredients and put them together in a useful way. A tasty way. A winsome way.

It’s good to be hospitable, to offer what I have and what I am to the congregation. Yes, I prepared food. (I think most people enjoyed what I brought, too.) I also took the opportunity to play Christmas carols this evening, and everyone sang. It didn’t matter that we didn’t sound like a wonderful choir. No, that didn’t matter to us. Instead, we sang carols to the glory of God. (Also for our enjoyment!)

All in all, a good day. Thank You, God!


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Helping? Playing for a Hymn Sing!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, August 21, 2014

not in control

Helping? Playing for a Hymn Sing!

Nothing like a good, old-fashioned hymn sing! That’s where I was, this afternoon. I played for a group of seniors at a retirement center where I used to preach, once a month. (That was before I had this position as pastor at the church where I am, now.) I am so grateful that I am able to help out, doing what I could. Giving enjoyment, providing music.

It warmed my heart to see so many of the seniors. I remember them from when I used to come and preach, lead worship, and sometimes play the piano, too. I really enjoyed playing for them, too—both then and now. And, there are additional seniors at the facility, too. So many, so sweet. And several came up to me and thanked me afterwards. One even said, “This is my most favorite thing to do, having a hymn sing. Thank you so much for playing for us.” That warmed my heart, and brought tears to my eyes, too.

Of course, I enjoyed seeing my friend, Chaplain Sarah. She and I had a short while to talk afterwards, as well.

I know I’ve spoken about this recently, but I’ll say it again. I am trying to follow the suggestions made in Micah 6:8 this month, in August. “Live justly, love mercy, walk humbly with our God.” I think being of service to these dear seniors certainly qualifies. I try to be humble and teachable, when I come to this retirement facility. I know that residents can often teach me things I just do not expect. And if I didn’t have my eyes open? Receptive? I would miss these lessons. Usually soft-key, gentle lessons. But other times? The lessons can be more serious, more sobering, too.

Next week, I am going to another (larger) senior facility, to lead a midweek service. At this facility, too, I can learn so much from the dear seniors in residence. I try to be humble, try to listen, and try to minister with my heart and hands open. Yes, the words of Micah 6:8 are worthwhile for me to consider—not just today, not just in the month of August. But, every month of the year. I need to continue to actively look for ways to be of service. Ways to love mercy, and ways to walk humbly with the one who loved me so much, God gave me things to do. Business to take care of.

God, I wonder what You’ll have for me to do, tomorrow?


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