Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Friday, July 27, 2012

Making room

Good morning, I pray the day is finding you well. I am in Richland Washington this morning. We got here last night. We pulled in to find that there was no place at the inn to lay our heads. Actually the KOA was completely full. Chuck and I left Missoula yesterday, but before we left we stopped by IHOP for breakfast. I am not really sure why they call it IHOP; I sure don't feel like hopping when I am done. As we ate breakfast we started noticing things. We notice that the walls that made up the booths were very high. We noticed that we had the feeling of isolation in this restaurant filled with people. We felt alone. We started talking about what it would look, taste, and feel like to bring a truly family atmosphere to a breakfast place. An atmosphere where people sat together, conversed, and shared there lives with one another. A place where strangers could become friends. We started thinking what would make such a place. First we would tear down the booth walls, in fact we would take away the booths altogether. We would create a kitchen environment; kind of like a Bennihana's, where the chef would prepare a meal with all the people sitting around talking while he cooked, kind of like home. Then we decided that it should be an all you can eat breakfast so people would take their time, further enhancing the community feel. Of course there would be plenty of pancakes and coffee, all you can eat. We thought this was a great idea. We started thinking up names for our new restaurant. We thought we would call it International, it sounds impressive. Then we thought Pancakes should be in the title. The next part took some thought; we wanted to portray a homey kitchen experience, but bigger, so we settled on Ultimate Kitchen. We also wanted breakfast to be more than breakfast, we wanted an experience. That's it....we would call it the International Pancake Ultimate Kitchen Experience. IPUKE We were still full when we rolled into Richland last night to find that the KOA was full. We were tired, we were hot, we really did not want to ride to another campground. We just kind of stood there. We were reminded of ancient biblical times where travelers would enter town and sit in the town square and wait. They would wait for someone to come along and offer them a place to stay. They would wait for someone to show them hospitality. Chuck and I were not invoking biblical tradition, we were just trying to figure out our next move, when out comes the innkeeper. Actually he is the manager of the KOA camp. He looks at us and says, "We are all filled up, but you guys look tired. I do have one place if you don't mind camping there. (This is when I thought he was going to pull a manger out of his hat.) and walks us over to a small piece of grass tucked in between a fence and the indoor pool. He says, "It isn't much, how much room will you need?" We said that it would be perfect and we pitched our tents. Hospitality, sometimes when you try too hard to create a space you get an IPUKE experience. Hospitality is really looking at a persons need and doing your best to create a space, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant, no matter if it puts you out just a little bit, to make their life experience better. Sometimes we come down hard on the innkeeper for giving Mary a stable to stay in. But he gave her a stable, a roof over her head, a place to lay her baby. In doing so, the innkeeper without his even knowing it gave hospitality to Christ. How often do we miss our chance to to be hospitable and in doing so miss a chance to be hospitable to Christ. And Christ said: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; (Matthew 25:35 NKJV) The Pharisees answered Him: When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? (Matthew 25:38 NKJV) Listen to Christ's words: Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NKJV) I learned a lot from a KOA manager yesterday. Hospitality is not hard. Blessings,

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