Not to Impress, But to Bless
If we are convinced that the purpose of hospitality is to bless, then we will esteem people more than things.
My friend Jan taught me this lesson many years ago when I was a lunch guest in her home.
Jan often invited fellow homeschool moms and our children over for lunch. The children would eat quickly and then run outside to play (as children do), while the moms lingered and chatted (as moms do).
On this particular day, my two older children were part of the play, and I was holding my six-month-old Kati over my shoulder. I must have been engaged in the conversation, because I didn't notice that Kati's wee hand could reach the dishes on the built in shelves behind my back. Before I knew it, that little hand had gripped a lovely old stoneware bowl and had pulled it from its perch, the bowl had fallen crashing to the floor, and it had broken into a myriad of pieces.
The bowl was crushed...and so was I.
I felt horrible for being negligent, for allowing my friend's treasure to be ruined. Tears filled my eyes as I gushed apologies.
But I learned that I was treasured more than the bowl.
Jan hushed me from repeated apologies. She insisted that these things happen with small children. And she calmly told me that "people are more important than things." And she meant it.
Baby in arms, I picked up the larger pieces, while Jan swept up the smaller ones, and we all returned to our conversations.
I had learned a great lesson through the graciousness of my friend.
I try to extend the same grace to guests in my home. Because, truly, people are more important than things.
Has anyone ever demonstrated this truth to you? Have you shown it to another?