Kassie is at a friend’s house right now, having a bit of a ladies’ farewell party before we leave Hannibal in a few weeks. We’re also selling one of our cars this morning and I’m loading the other vehicle up for the next family Christmas celebration. Since both cars were spoken for, and the weather is frigid, Kassie called a friend and asked to share a ride to the tea party.
Asking for that last-minute favor made me wonder, am I ready and able to serve people, or just spend time with them? In other words, do I have easily-fixable hindrances in my life that keep me from loving people.
- Keep the car tidy. It’s happened to me several times. Either I’m saying, “Let’s take your car,” or my friend is saying the same to me. We’re embarassed by the junk in our car: papers, fast food trash, stuff we are going put away or throw away “later.” I’m not saying we need to give our cars a full-detail each week, but take car of clutter as it arises and I think you’ll find yourself more eager to share rides and less stressed when someone asks you to.
- Keep the house tidy. Raise your hand if you, like me, have rushed home to get the house ready for company. This usually means taking stuff from one room and putting in into another room that won’t be seen by company. Most of us have done it, but it’s a stressful thing. Once company leaves, then you have a cluttered room to deal with before bed. Picking up throughout the day, or cleaning before inviting people over can put your mind at ease. Please note, this isn’t supposed to be just another burden on wives. Most husbands make their share of messes, but are too lazy or selfish to clean them up. Guys- if you want to have fellowship after church, how about you do some house-cleaning to get the place ready?
- Buy some frozen pizzas. Having quick, easy food on hand is very conducive to hospitality. If you feel compelled to order pizza each time you have company, it’s going to hurt the budget. At our grocery store, we can buy good-tasting, large pizzas for less then $5. No carry-out place can beat that deal.
- Prepare for people with different needs. If you can afford it, I recommend having a spare booster-seat (for small kids) and a pack-n-play (for napping babies). If that young family is hesitant to come over, encourage them that you are prepared for their kids. This can also mean putting breakables out of reach, so the parents can relax in our house. Also, be ready to be sensitive to things like allergies.
- Set an example in neediness. None of us want to be needy, it’s practically un-American, right? But I’ve found that one way to cultivate people asking me for help is to ask them first. When I have a home-improvement project, I ask a friend if he can help for a hour. The result is that he feels free to ask me when he needs help. This is turn for time together as well. If your family is going out to eat or to enjoy a cultural attraction (Christmas display, parade, summer fair), invite people to join you. Once in a while you need strictly family time, but I think we could include our friends and neighbors in our lives much more than we do.
So, these are just few ideas and I’m sure there’s much more that could be said. How about you, any tips for loving people and sharing life with them?