Monday, December 29, 2008

The Simple Life Day#1

I received a book for Christmas entitled "The Simple Life". It is devotional thoughts from Amish Country. It is all about not feeling the need to keep up with the Jones. I got this and was just overwhelmed with a desire to start this, implement the ideas into my life, and share it with you. I think we all need to remember what is truly important and it is not all the earthly possessions we have. I know I often struggle with this. I intend to do this devotional every day and to share it with you. It comes with a recipe that is popular in the Amish community. I hope you and I both grow from this.

Friendly Welcome

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

"Are you sure your Amish friends won't mind us stopping by?" Rick asked Wayne as they drove onto a graveled driveway.
Rick's wife, Eileen, nodded. "We feel funny about dropping in unannounced."
Wayne turned off the car's engine. "I've known Eli for some time. I'm sure he and Joanna will be pleased to meet our friends."
"Joanna and Eli have always been hospitable to me," Wayne's wife, Karen, added.
As they left the car and strolled past an Amish buggy parked near the barn, Eileen's apprehension rose. Would this Amish couple really welcome people they had never met?
When they entered the expansive yard, Eileen noticed tow children romping in the nearby creek. The towheaded boy's dark trousers were rolled to the knees, and blue cotton shirttails peeked out from under tan suspenders. The little girl didn't seem to care that the hem of her long blue dress was getting wet, while she giggled and flicked water with her bare toes.
A young Amish woman wearing a dark green dress with black cape and apron stepped out the back door. A tall Amish man with reddish blond hair and matching beard followed. Wayne made the introductions, explaining that Rick and Eileen were visiting from the state of Washington.
"Welcome," Joanna said, motioning to the picnic table. "Would you care to sit awhile?"
"Maybe you'd like a glass of iced tea," Eli offered with a friendly grin.
For the next hour, the three couples sat at the picnic table, visiting, watching the children play, and savoring the pleasant taste of cool mint tea.
When it was time to go, Eileen shook Joanna's hand and said, "thank you for your hospitality. We've enjoyed our visit."
"You're welcome," Joanna replied.
As they drove away, Eileen reflected on their time spent with the Amish family. She felt like they had made some new friends. Would I have been as pleasant and hospitable if uninvited guests had showed up at my house? How many times have I put off writing a letter or phoning a friend because I was too busy? When was the last time I entertained strangers?
Hospitality seems easier when we are with family and friends, but God reminds us to entertain those outside our familiar circle. In Mark 9:41, we are reminded that Jesus said, "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." Whether it be a cup of water or a glass of iced tea, God is pleased when we show hospitality. After all, for some people, our friendship and hospitality may be the only Jesus they will ever see.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Good friends are like good quilts; they never lose their warmth.

2 quarts fresh mint leaves
1 cup sugar
Boiling Water

Fill a large kettle with fresh clean mint leaves, add sugar, and cover with boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and let stand several hours or overnight. Remove mint leaves by straining. Then pour the remaining cooled tea into a pitcher to refrigerate or serve later in Ice-filled glasses.

As soon as I finished reading this devotional, I immediately turned to Hebrews 13. I wanted the whole chapter. And wow! God gives the gift of hospitality to some, but not to all. Does that mean this devotional only applies to those who have the gift? Absolutely not! It just means that those who don't have the gift might have to work a little harder at it, that's all. We can do it though. Hebrews 13:20-21 says, 20 Now may the God of peace—
who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will.
May he produce in you,[e]
through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

Notice the first part of verse 21 - may he equip you with ALL you need for doing his will. I believe that being hospitable is God's will and that He will give me and you both all we need to be hospitable. How would you feel if guests - strangers or family - just showed up at your house unexpected? Unfortunately today we don't even visit family without first calling to make sure it okay, let alone people we barely know. I know that if people showed up at my house unexpected, I would be very ashamed and uncomfortable. Not because I didn't want them here - I love having people over and am lucky enough to have been given the gift of hospitality - but because unless I know you are coming - my house isn't.. Let's just say I am a horrible house keeper. Like right now as I sit here writing this I just think how much I need to clean. And there are those people who say their house is dirty because they haven't dusted or vacuumed today - that's not me. When I say my house is dirty I mean right now you wouldn't have a place to sit in my living room and you can't see my kitchen over all the dirty dishes - gross, I know. Don't worry I'm taking care of it as soon as I finish here. :) I think part of this being willing to open your house up is always being ready to open your house. Start each day like you might have company coming - I know that mind set would sure help me with my house keeping.

The old saying of you are the only Jesus they may see is worn out but very true. I don't think hospitality is limited to our home. What about when you are in crazy people filled Wal-Mart? Do you even notice the people you walk by? Do you stop and help that mother with a screaming child? Do you pray for her? Do you notice the elderly lady trying to reach something on a higher shelf? Do you talk to the person in behind you in line as you PATIENTLY wait your turn? They are real people with real problems. Stop, talk to them, pray for them. And I'm preaching to myself here more than anyone else. I'm not an outgoing person. If you aren't my family or friend, I pretty much don't talk to you. It is something that I need to work on. I said earlier that I believe I've been given the gift of hospitality, but that doesn't mean it comes easy to me. It is definitely something I have to work on and it is definitely something that takes me out of my comfort zone more often than I would like. But I think that is one of the reasons God chose to give me that gift.

I challenge you this week to practice the art of being hospitable. Welcome someone into your home, or even better welcome them into your life. God doesn't want you to keep in your familiar circle. If we did that, how would we ever share Jesus with everyone who needs Him? Talk to a stranger this week. Place Hebrews 13:2 in your heart and store it there.

In an attempt to grow closer to Him,
E. Ann


  1. Great teaching! That sounds like a really good book. I am looking forward to many more of these!

  2. You are so funny! I'm sitting here, reading this to Mom and Joy and you have us laughing.

    Joy and I want to read this book when you are finished...or maybe we'll go get us one as sounds really good!

    Love you, sis!