We talk a lot about honor in our culture in regards to public service and acts of bravery.  But why don’t we speak more about honoring one another in daily life?

Think about it.  How do people perceive you?  And in regards to church, does your congregation honor every precious child of God?

I feel keenly about the Biblical mandate for hospitality and how lacking it seems in most churches.  I would like for us to consider how hospitality is really the call of God to honor others.

For me, this journey started exactly where I am sitting right now, in my favorite seat at my favorite coffee shop.  I sit where people have to almost trip over me.  I smile at everyone who walks by if they are interested in noticing.

The baristas know exactly what I want when I come – a small unsweet black tea.  (I gave up coffee at the age of six.)  They are essential people that I connect with at the coffeehouse.  But, as much as I love these folks, my last two visits had experiences where I didn’t feel honored – not the least of which when they know me to be a regular.

While I don’t drink coffee, that is just a small part of what these amazing drinks are at coffeehouses.  It is common for the baristas to take around samples of their beverages.  For the last two visits, they have taken around samples only to run out just before they get to me.  Then they walk by me with their empty tray.  How would you feel?

My small group is focusing on spiritual conversations these days.  It seeks to hold each of us accountable to be actively having conversations in the community where we intensely listen to people’s stories and respond in a Godly manner of love and grace.

I told the story of Jared (his real name) who is a waiter at Applebees.  He was amazing as he served each table and somehow made a connection with the stories of all these diverse people.  That included our own table when he learned I am a pastor, and he told about how his grandfather started the church he attends.

When I shared this story at my group, one member asked how Jared’s behavior made me feel.  My answer was that I felt honored.  Jared honored my life.  It leads me to a few questions for us to ponder:

  • Do I honor my family about whom I know all their faults?
  • Do I honor the people I meet in daily life?
  • Do I honor the people who I don’t feel honor me?
  • Does my church honor everyone who enters?
  • Do our church ministries honor the people God sets before us?

We talk a lot about church hospitality these days, but like with anything, it can become misguided.  Am I hospitable just so there is a better chance that new people will return to my church?  Hospitality can be reduced to following a set of guidelines.  There, now we are a friendly church because we do these things.  No.  Not necessarily.  Hospitality is honoring the precious people who God loves unconditionally.

Question: How have you shown the hospitality of honoring people or experienced it on the receiving end?  Leave your comment below:

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