Monday, April 28, 2014

When Things Get Broken

Monday, April 28, 2014

A few nights ago as I was tucking my two oldest girls into bed, I discovered that the top railing of the bunk bed was broken. I remembered a few days prior having some people over and correcting a few kids for hanging on this piece of bed (including my oldest). Instantly I was angry.

And for a few days after that, I seemed to be walking around finding random broken toys, scratched walls, and messes. I am not exactly positive where they came from, but most of them I was sure were from all of the times we have people in our home. Let me just say, we have a family or some children here at least once a week... minimum.

My heart of comparison kicked in. "No one else's houses have dinks. Everyone else's stuff stays nice. I paid money for that! You cannot just fix that, you have to redo it!" All of this coming and going, all of this babysitting, all of this hosting, and look where it got me!

God slammed his door of conviction on me faster than I can brew a pot of coffee on a Monday morning. Matthew 6:21 came to mind in particular, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (NLT) I became very concerned about my heart condition directed toward hospitality. Even more concerned about my heart condition being right with God, than a broken railing, or a gouge out of my wall, or missing paint, or crayon on the dresser, or the newly formed stain on the carpet (that I am almost positive I can see George Clooney's face in). I began to wonder where I was really putting my treasure.

I look back on my days of sulking with a humble gratitude. I am thankful the Holy Spirit called me out on my sin. There is something to be said about all the times people have come over and laughed during a summer's night fire, they have sobbed on my couch, they have trusted their children to me, they have shared secrets between these walls, and memories have been created. Small groups come and eat here, family comes and has holiday celebration here. There is also something to be said about cramming so many into such a small space. You literally cannot get a side dish without hugging a family member to reach it (a huge blessing in the time of technology). I cannot see other friends' kids without getting hugged and begging to come back and play! Love has been given, taken, and most importantly, shared here.

What an honor to be able to serve God's beloved children that way. I remember a time when there was a non-believer who came and dropped her son off at our home. She said she would, "Be back soon for him," and never came back (we had to find his extended family members). He didn't have anything, not a diaper bag, no snacks, and not a thing to wear. I assumed that "soon" meant 1-2 hours. Not three days. But it was obvious that a) she didn't care about where her son was, or b) she truly trusted his care here. Maybe it was a bit of both, but in her negligence I learned an important lesson.

Matthew 25:33-40 says:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?  Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’"
I feel like somewhere in modern day living, we forget that abandoned children need a home. We forget that as Christians, we need to be caring for each other, saved or unsaved, whether things get broken, and whether it is deserved or undeserved. There has never been a verse that has ever said, "Give to the naked and starving as long as they have a legitimate job and pay taxes." You will not find a verse that says, "Thou shalt order pizza and force thine friends to participate in thou purchase to exactly 50th percent (including tax)!" You simply will not find anything about, "If someone breaks something in your house, drop community there completely and immediately to spare yourself a little extra work."  Jesus tells us to love, and loving is messy, because feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and letting people pop in, is messy. But true hospitality goes beyond our own walls into the community, helping everyone. I believe this is God's way of saying, "So your walls are dinked and the bed is broken, but you have a bed, you have walls, you have an extra baggie of goldfish crackers, share them." We might be the only contact someone has with Jesus and Christians, and we might be the only safe place for people, don't blow it for physical comfort and a brag board for your Pinterest account.
He goes even further to say to a wealthy man, in Matthew 19, Sell EVERYTHING you own and give it all to the poor. This man walks away sad, because he loves his possessions too much. He basically says that he loves his stuff more than he loves God's people. Lord, don't let me be the man that walks away. Let me set my eyes on the things above! Let me be brave enough to ditch anything you ask me to.
Because really, at the end of the day, does that thing matter? Does the George Clooney face in the middle of your carpet honestly steal the joy of the memory of how funny it looked when said person tripped and spilled their beverage? Does the hole in your wall rob the comfort the child fell after they cried, terrified, and you comforted them about it, "being okay, really." Does the invitation, "Pop in any time you need to," take more worth than, "You can't come here, my dishes aren't done yet." I hope not. Luke 12:33 says, "Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it." (NLT)

So, if the standing reads as true as the many signs hanging in our homes today, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) then we are called, commanded, and suggested to be hospitable, and do it joyfully. No matter what, no matter if your grocery bill goes up, no matter if things get broken, stained, or used. We are called to live together in community even when things get broken, because, "That's okay! Really."


Jody Bender said...

Trust me your comparison kicking in is lying to you. We ALL have dings, broken toys, redo's, etc... trust me that never stops. Even when the kids grow up things happen. But yes, I agree people are far more valuable than all of that.

Kathleen Hansen said...

I love this site! Good work and very enlightening and interesting!

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