Luke 10:
 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
   41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

As for the matter of hospitality, Jesus wants Martha to know that there is something better than getting everything right. It does not have to be elaborate and finely crafted. Simple is good, too.

As the host of the church house, I am sometimes tempted by Martha-like frustrations. I want to serve up a sermon that sizzles on cue. I want to lead worship that is dynamic and moves people. I want the croissants to be fresh and the parking lot to be plowed.

If I am not careful about my focus, I might spoil the mood in the room with anxiety, projecting helplessness and assigning blame on others.

Jesus points multi-troubled Martha to uni-focused Mary.

There is only one important thing in this context. Hospitality is not about Martha’s standards of excellence, but upon whom hospitality is focused. It is personal and Mary set everything aside to be at Jesus’ feet.

The best thing about hospitality is paying attention to who is present. That love outlasts the complex arrangements and will be remembered longer.

Recently David Adcock shared stories at our District Community Builders Retreat. David served as director at Yonge St. Mission in Toronto for thirteen years. One young woman from the streets told him why she preferred their mission to other government-supported services. Here, she had a name and was genuinely loved. When she would leave the room, the mission workers would not use the edge of their shirt to handle the doorknob after she touched it.

In their computer lab at the mission, one woman who worked there soon had children lining up for a hug before or after they used the workstations. The difference is not great services—it is loving attention that defines genuine care and hospitality.


wayne out west said…
come as you are....doesn't matter how you are loved here.
This has been my experience at New Song and at Lifeline...I don't attend to be seen, or to be complimented on a new shirt..I attend for the family atmosphere..and the message.Most times at NSC that message,at least for me,is found within the songs.When I first attended in late 1997,it was the music that kept me comimg back...and slowly I gravitated from the very back wall,right beside the the front row,changing the overhead stencils.....I am always made to feel welcome there...a son coming home.