The other day I read a beautiful story from Janna at Simple Life Journey about her friend Emily. Emily does something altogether revolutionary in this day & age of instant communication by turning her ringing phone off while she is conversing with Janna. Janna becomes stunned & even allows Emily to answer the phone. What is Emily's response?
“Janna, I am spending time with you. I will call back whoever it was when I get a chance.”
What immediately struck me was Emily showing her hospitality to Janna. She was choosing to be present to her friend in the flesh, not driven by a device, or a call from some other person not in front of her. It's so Jesus--that's what makes it attractive.
Time after time we see Jesus stopping to take notice of people. He wouldn't be rushed or told to move on, simply because there was "something" better. When the little children came, he welcomed them & didn't brush them off. When the crowds in 5,000+ came, it was Jesus who corrected his disciples by telling them he wouldn't leave them, because it was too overwhelming.
I think technology is a good thing. Heck, I'm using my Mac to write this. I also have an Iphone. I'm not going to be a person who is going to get on my soapbox of why TV is of the devil, or a smartphone either. We can look at the story in Genesis 11 about the Tower of Babel. Here the people had the technological advances of brick. They were industrious, which isn't bad. Inventing & using modern technology is NOT a bad thing. The conflict arises when they use modern technology for bad; rather, than for the advancement of good. The same is true in our 21st century world of technology; but, how has the advent of instant gratification bring about seclusion & rejection of people who are within our immediate sphere?
Janna's friend Emily knew where her phone was ranked. She was not controlled by her it, but placed Janna higher. I love how the value of people is always, always the most important. It's rudimentary in practising hospitality. When we spend our time texting, answering phone calls, or checking other updates on our phones, while in the presence of a friend or loved one, we are communicating that they come second.
And friends, I have fallen to this on many occasion. I bring my phone to the table while my girls are eating lunch, because I'm more interested in what is happening out there; rather, than what's happening right here. I am guilty of this very act I write of & want my character shaped by the transforming love & death of Jesus by always placing people above things. Hospitality most often starts in these small ways. In fact, I would see that it's through these little disciplines teaching us to value each interaction we have with another person as absolutely fundamental in cultivating a hospitable heart. It is our job as Christians to set forth the precedant on what love looks like, which is to love every.single.person. Because, every person is made in the image of the triune God & he gets angry when we do not see the other as his Palace Temple.
Friends, I earnestly desire to love like this & earnestly desire that the Body of the resurrected Lord would love like this to the ends of the Earth. That our drive would be like that of the hospitable Jesus, who came to heal the sick, the lame, the broken...by being present with them in their need. I need your help in this. We need one another to know how to graciously walk this road.
How can we set the phone on mute to be mindful of the hospitable Jesus in our presence? Thoughts? Comments?