On Tuesday night, Matthew and I went to the home of one of our church’s missionaries for dinner. Karl is a single guy in his late 30s, and he is currently in the US for a year before he goes back to Central Asia. He was so hospitable to us that I saw my own lack in that area very sharply.
Karl had dinner ready for us when we arrived, and the table was already neatly set (I am infamously bad at timing the cooking of meals, and I am always a long way from serving the meal when guests arrive). His little home (the downstairs of his brother’s house) was immaculate (I almost always have clutter lying around). He served two simple but delicious dishes – a Middle Eastern tabouli and a Central Asian rice-chicken-beans-carrots dish (I often forget that the guests, not the food, are the focus of the evening, and I try all sorts of crazy dishes that may or may not turn out well…I have, on more than one occasion, made guests feel awkward by making ridiculously fancy meals that are silly for the purpose of a friendly meal together).
When he prayed over the meal, he also prayed for the people of Pakistan in such a way that it sounded like this is his normal practice – to pray for a different people group each day (What a cool practice, and what a great way to impact guests – and our future children – with a passion for missions!). During the meal, he anticipated our needs, pouring drink refills, urging second and third helpings (I am often too consumed with getting all the details of the meal right, and I forget to be attentive to my guests). There was more than enough food (I am bad at estimating how far food will go, and I have sometimes made far too little, leaving guests hungry).
We stayed for several hours after dinner over chocolate cake and green tea, talking about missions (I sometimes find myself anxious for guests to leave so I can clean up and go to bed).
Karl’s apartment is spartan, his cups and plates vintage, the food simple. But everything was served with a large dose of kindness, servant-heartedness, and generosity.
My apartment is spacious and nicely appointed, my kitchen things new (the benefit of being still a newlywed!), my cooking skills well practiced. But I often fail to show true hospitality.