Who’s The Interruption?

“Oh dear…ahhhh…um…very sorry…but….argh!…can you just hold on a minute?”

In high-school, I remember taking some twisted pleasure in watching my father navigate the newfangled technology that was call-waiting.

If dad was on the phone, and another call beeped in, he would get a rash from the unnecessary rudeness of it all. He considered the alert of an incoming call to be a personal affront. “I’m so sorry…” he would fluster into the phone, all huffy and bothered, “…but someone else is trying to break into our conversation.”

Now we know that the call-waiting invention was just the tip of the iceberg. Since then, we’ve experienced a landslide of blips and bells, vibrations and whistles, guaranteed to interrupt any face-to-face conversation that lasts longer than seven seconds.

My father – bless him – has weathered the new world remarkably well (me, not so much). He’s done so by holding steady in his belief that when you are with people, you must really be with them. People love him for that. I love him for that.

Can this be said of us, I wonder?

Today, will all the people who share our time and space feel welcome there? Will they feel seen and heard? Or, will they feel like the unwanted interruption, breaking in on something more important to us?

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Hospitality is a beautiful mark of all who would call themselves children of God. It’s not a special gift some of us own, and others don’t. The grace of hospitality doesn’t depend on our personality, circumstances, or even how we are feeling: it only hopes to give as much consideration to the person before us, as we do to ourselves.

We might very well be an introvert, or live in a tiny studio apartment, or be tired. We might have little children that we home school, or work exceptionally long and demanding hours as a single parent. Even so, a hospitable and generous spirit is how our world will know that they matter.

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Christian hospitality is a way of seeing all the people – being with them – so that they feel welcomed in. This includes the stranger, the quirky neighbor, the husband, the liberal, the rich, the skeptic, the child, the sullen, the roommate, and the enemy.

How do we receive all the people?

God has shown us great mercy, but he’s also shown us stunning friendship. Not only have we been dramatically forgiven and rescued, but we’ve been warmly welcomed in as beloved sons and daughters. We’ve been invited into an extravagant feast in the home of the King – an invitation we certainly didn’t earn, and absolutely don’t deserve.

The warmth of our welcome to all the people is a testimony to how well we understand God’s welcome to us.

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One of my favorite authors and pastors, Eugene Peterson, writes about his desire to be ever more leisurely with people. I love him for this, because he understands that even as a prolific author, pastor, thinker, and leader, being leisurely with people is the way to love them – even half as much – as we love ourselves.

The door to real life is not shut to us, but has been thrown open wide to those who believe.

Jesus broke into time and space for all the people he loves.

By the mercies of God then, let’s be imitators – living sacrifices – of this kind of hospitality.

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Peace to you, as you enjoy, and extend, God’s friendship to all the people in your path today.

Kim

10 responses to Who’s The Interruption?

  1. Rita says:

    Would love to receive your devotions by email.

  2. Janna says:

    Beautiful words and pictures. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. David says:

    Great post, Kim. Thanks for showing me what true hospitality is.

  4. leesachesnut says:

    Yikes, this hit me in the face today and I needed it! Beautiful pictures and an even more beautiful message! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Sandi Harris says:

    Indeed the pictures ar so inviting and the point well made about really giving others our undivided ATTENTION, rather than allowing other electronic devises the right to interrupt our time with those who should come first! Well said! Thanks for bringing this truth home to the heart!!!

  6. Given Breath says:

    Hi Rita,

    You can! If you type in your email on the Given Breath site, the weekly-ish posts will come in email form.

    Kim

  7. We need this reminder often, don’t we? You are brilliant, Kim, at finding the core of your message and sharing it with us. Thank you, sister.

  8. Given Breath says:

    Rebe! You are one of the most hospitable women I know.

    You don’t have quite as many beeps and vibrations in Madagascar as you used to have in Austin, but you have time to grow vanilla beans and make me Ylang Ylang essential oil!

    I miss you, so. XOXOXOXO

  9. Colleen says:

    There goes my excuse that I don’t have the “gift” of hospitality. Romans 12:16 (NIV)”Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Thanks for reminding me to practice hospitality.
    this is a beautiful devotion I will return to and pray to develop in my life.

  10. chrisgoppert says:

    Kim

    Well stated – an essential reminder for our “recognition-starved” generation who are seized with this sense of having to be in constant touch with their peers, lest they be left “alone” in the cosmic silence of our depersonalized culture.

    Uncle Chris

      The Pace and Place May Change, But Not the Purpose and Passion

    Mentoring friends at the Ragged Edge of a Broken WorldServing with TEAM at HTC  

    Harare, Zimbabwe, AFRICA

    “The Heart Has Its Reasons, About Which Reason Knows Nothing at All.” – Pascal

    http://www.team.org http://www.htc.ac.zw                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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