Friday, July 31, 2015

Hospitality Hugs and Handshakes

Living Lessons: Hospitality, Hugs, and Handshakes
By:  Christopher Wiles

     While in Honduras three weeks ago I was blessed by God to receive amazing hospitality from a people that have little material wealth.  They welcomed us in their homes, offered us meals, requested the service of washing our clothes, and much more all with an expectation of no payments.  It is their faith and culture that encourages them to use their home, possessions, and energies to serve others.
     I was convicted when I returned to the States, that my home is not as hospitable as theirs.  Yes, by American standards, Ashley and I might be viewed highly as we have someone in our home for a meal about every two weeks.  But that is usually friends, and rarely does a stranger receive the same level of hospitality rivaling that of the Hondurans when they enter my neighborhood. 

Yet the Scriptures many in our community profess to follow say a lot about hospitality, even toward foreigners.

Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

1 Peter 4:9  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Romans 12:13  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Leviticus 19:34  You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

To Jalil, Mujtaba, Juma, Farooq, Omid, Vakil, Ghulam, and Mohamad, I Thank You!
      I am convinced this is an area of my active daily faith that I can grow with help from God.  When I found out today that there was a group of Afghanistan students hanging out at the Daviess County Produce Auction in Cannelburg, IN, I knew God was giving us the opportunity to make someone feel welcome.  What happened though, was them treating me as though I was the one to be respected and served.  Their graciousness, respect, kindness, and sincerity was far and away deeper and greater than mine.  The conversation with them was so much fun and the mutual learning so beneficial that we traded contact information.  It didn't matter to them one bit that we might be followers of different world religions.  What mattered most was showing kindness, respect, and hospitality for another human.  They also shared that they most often hug when meeting new people instead of a handshake!  I felt the value they gave me and my family.  I only hope they felt the same value from me as well. 

(We did try to work out a way to have them in our home for a meal, but their limited time in Southern Indiana just couldn't afford it this time.  We have contacted their program coordinator to offer hospitality to students in the future.  Let me know if you're interested in joining us.)


"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." - Genesis 1:27