By Zoë Elmore
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42 (NIV)
While our youngest son was in high school he started a band and they practiced in our basement twice a week for three years. I spent those late afternoons baking cookie dough from five pound tubs and pouring gallons of milk for hungry teenagers (are there any other kind?) to the rhythm of the music. The music was loud, make that very loud and teenagers came out of the woodwork. Our home was quickly transformed into the gathering place and I knew I needed to take this opportunity to offer these teens more than just a sugar high. It didn’t take long before I became known as “the band mom” and I soon learned an important truth in accepting the name; if you feed them they will arrive at your doorstep; and if you love them they will return.
At the end of every practice a few band member and regular fans would slip upstairs for just one more hot cookie and as I poured the milk they soon began to pour out their problems and concerns with family and friends. Many days I felt like our home was an emergency room for broken hearts, broken dreams and broken teens and I was the nurse handing out sweet treats in order to make the boo-boo feel better. As the Lord provided opportunities to pray for and with these hungry teenagers I was amazed at His faithfulness of grace in these young lives.
One afternoon my son mentioned that the newest band member would be arriving for rehearsal and asked me to send him to the basement. When the door bell rang and I saw all the tattoos and body piercings they did give me pause before opening the door but I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The young man entered and politely introduced himself; he shook my hand, thanked me for hosting the rehearsal then made his way to the basement. When band practice ended and the teens began to scatter; our son and this “colorful” young man ran into the kitchen to polish off the remaining cookies. When the last crumb had been consumed the young man had an interesting request. “Mrs. Elmore, could I have a hug before I leave today?” “Of course” I answered and granted his request. “That was wonderful.” he said “He took a breath and then quietly whispered “My mom abandoned us several years ago and I haven’t been hugged by a mom in such a long time.” My heart sank and it was all I could not to let this young man see my tears.
From that day forward I made sure I was available for hugs and it wasn’t long before Tom and I became a sounding board for this young man and a safe place to share his heart, his hurts and his dreams. There were times when the young man would pop in unannounced for some cookies and conversation. Throughout the next two years there were opportunities to pray with him and to share the gospel. Although Tom and I never heard this young man profess a personal relationship with Christ we know that we had fed more than his physical hunger as we offered him spiritual food from God’s word.
In thinking back on my tenure as “the band mom” I’m reminded to pray for all those hungry teens that came and went from our home. I pray they would become or remain hungry for the spiritual truths held in God’s word. I pray for the Lord to put godly men and women in their pathways that would feed their spirits and I pray that my heart would remain sensitive to the fact that I should offer everyone in our home spiritual as well as physical hospitality.
Now you may not be a band mom but I’m guessing that at times you have a house full of noisy and colorful pre-schoolers or teenagers. I want to encourage you to be available for some cookies and conversation and to offer them both physical and spiritual hospitality.
Dear Lord, help me to be a woman of physical and spiritual hospitality. Show me ways to be available to my children’s friends and to everyone you bring to into our home. Instruct me on making You known through grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
If the Lord is asking you to rethink your idea of hospitality; will you trust and obey or make the excuse that hospitality is not your gift.
How can you prepare your heart and your home to be a spiritual hostess?
Do you spend more time cleaning and decorating your home or being available to those who enter your home?
2 Thessalonians 3:4, “… May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God's love and Christ's endurance.” (MSG)
Acts 10:4, “Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” (NIV)
Philippians 3:8-9, “...I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him...”