We eagerly arrived at the little café the sweet Southern lady had recommended to us the night before.
“They really have the best breakfast in town,” she had said in her friendly Southern drawl, “plus, I doubt that ya’ll really want to have this hotel breakfast again.”
She was absolutely right on both counts. I certainly would enjoy a proper breakfast for once—as opposed to having the non-sugar-coated, wheat-laden option available: bananas, apples and coffee. And this place definitely had a delicious breakfast. I ordered my eggs and bacon with a side of plain grits, thankful to the lovely lady for her recommendation. To be pointed towards this breakfast haven was truly a kindness that I was most grateful for.
However my husband and I were most pleasantly surprised to find that her kindness did not stop there.
The waitress brought back our coffee, and casually said, “Oh, and a lady called and told me not to let ya’ll pay for any thang—she’s goin’ to drop by later and pay for every thang. She said you had a really strong accent and I wouldn’t be able to miss ya’ll. She saw ya’ll at the traffic lights comin’ here.”
It took me a few minutes to really understand the impact of what this lady had done for us:
- She had only met us once.
- I thought it was kindness enough that she recommended the place to us.
- She was likely never going to see us again.
- She was not even there to see us enjoy our meal that she had purchased.
- We would not even get a chance to say thank you.
“It really is a different kind of kindness!” I exclaimed, “I mean, really—who shows that kind of hospitality? She won’t even see us enjoying what she has given to us!”
“It’s Biblical kindness,” my husband replied, “Christians should show that kind of hospitality—giving without expecting praise or anything in return.”
And you know what, he was so right. It is the kind of kindness that God shows towards us, and that we should in turn show to others.
“And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:33-35, ESV).
“[God] has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever” (2 Corinthians 9:9, ESV).
Too often I am guilty of wanting the praise for what I do for others. I am one of those “words of praise” people (read The Five Love Languages if you don’t understand what I am talking about. It’s worth your time!), and I must admit that I love to hear praise from people and see the delight on their faces when they receive what I give.
Too often I have been guilty of loving to give, but loving to give to get some love in return.
Giving to an anonymous collection pool? Hmm, not so attractive. Buying a present for myself that supports a missionary family? Better. Sending money in a pretty card with my name on it? Well, that is more like it.
However, in contrast to my praise-seeking ways, this beautiful Southern lady through her generosity taught me a lesson that I will never forget. I am going to work on being the kind of person that does not need praise for what I am giving—a woman who is happy for the glory to go to God through the church as a collective rather than herself (Ephesians 3:21)—a woman who is happy to have her reward come from God.
“But when you give […] do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:3, 4; ESV).
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35; ESV).
Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard of love. Let’s show some Christian hospitality.