Listening

People Coming For Dinner Can Be Too Big Of A Deal

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, told me that he hates it when people are coming for a meal. The last time he called he was ready to give up on having company altogether. Ruby his wife had asked her boss and his wife to dinner. According to Ed, Ruby went beyond a light cleaning in the house. She insisted that Ed cut and trim the lawn before they came. Ed claimed that he went from being the king of his castle to slave labor and under the threat of death if he messed up the house.

In frustration, Ed asked Ruby if they had royalty coming to dinner, and she answered that he should treat them like they were nobility. Ed was for taking them out to a restaurant to reduce the stress level in their house, but Ruby would not hear of it. Ed said, “I felt like a prisoner in my own home forced to be on my best behavior while pretending to be enjoying myself.” When it was over, Ed said, “Thank the Lord that they are gone!” Ruby said, “I cannot wait to invite them again!”  

In the Old Testament, showing hospitality to strangers was imperative. Abraham looked up and found three men traveling by his tent, so he quickly invited them to rest, relax, and have some food, before continuing on their journey. One of the men was the Lord. Abraham and his wife Sarah and their servants prepared food and refreshment for the three travelers.  While they ate, one of the men (the Lord) shared that he would return about the same time next year and that Sarah his wife would have a son. Sarah was listening in the tent, and she laughed in disbelief. She was advanced in years and saw both herself and Abraham her husband as old and worn out.

The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year and Sarah shall have a son.” Nothing is too hard for the Lord and Abraham and Sarah had a son in their old age. It is not uncommon for people to doubt and reject the word of God. Sometimes, God’s words seem unlikely to turn out to be true. The Lord’s words did turn out to be accurate for Sarah, who had her son Isaac when she was 90, and Abraham was 100. Trusting God’s word above other words and our circumstances is often a challenge.

In the New Testament, Mary and Martha were sisters and friends with Jesus. Martha had invited Jesus and his disciples to be guests at her house. She was focused on preparing food and refreshment for them. Jesus began to teach his disciples and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to his teaching.  Martha went to Jesus complaining that Mary was leaving her to prepare for them all alone. Jesus said that Mary had chosen what was most important, listening to his teaching before doing other things. Serving Jesus comes after you have taken the time to hear what he has to say first.

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Raymond Maher
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