Sunday, May 1, 2011

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.~Hebrews 13:2

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Jesse is an old, old man.  He has come over for years.  Looking back, I can remember the first time he knocked on our door and asked if he could fish off the point.  He has come to this little spot for many years; long before we moved here.
Until yesterday, I didn't even know his name.  Had I not asked or did my memory just fail me?  Ashamed that I didn't remember, I asked my daughter to go introduce herself and to ask him his name.  "Jesse," he says.
Jesse comes over to catch his supper.  Usually he leaves with brim, but last night he caught three large catfish!  This spot is popular with the crack-of-dawn fishermen and is known to house quite a few catfish; I guess something Jesse has known all his life.
My daughter and I were cleaning out my shed from the winter of having thrown everything right inside the door. 
It was dark when Jesse came up the hill.  I could barely see him and hollered out, "Did you catch anything tonight?"  He didn't answer and probably assumed that I could see the three catfish hanging beside him.  Carrying his simple fishing pole and his fish, and seemingly tired, he stumbled as he walked and I worried that he would fall on the uneven path.
When he spoke, I couldn't see his face, but he sounded just like my grandfather; soft spoken, gentle and humble.  I had to clear the path from all my 'stuff' for him to pass by.  As he passed he said, "If you ever need any help around the house, I am a pretty good carpenter."  I thanked him and said I would pass that along to my husband.  He said, "Well, best get on home.  I still have to cook these fish.  My wife died six years ago."  Amazed that he would go home, skin and filet his fish and cook it, I replied, "I wish I knew how to skin a fish." 
He offered to teach me next time.  As he climbed in his truck, he turned back to me and said, "You be careful now, ya' hear.  The snakes are starting to come out and it is dark."
I thanked him and said I would.
Later that evening, an overwhelming sense of conviction came over me. I can throw a party.  I love to entertain and to make fun decorations for my family and friends.  I have been told that I have the 'gift of hospitality.'  Do I?  I can entertain loved ones, but can I serve a sweet, old man in need of some food and a comfortable place to sit?
How did I miss the opportunity?  How did I 'forget to entertain a stranger?"  All the excuses come to my mind.  We ate sandwiches earlier in the evening and didn't have anything but pimento cheese in the refrigerator.  I think back and bet that a pimento cheese with a big slice of tomato on some toasted bread would have tasted pretty good to Jesse.
Next time, I will tell Jesse to throw those fish in the back of his old truck and invite him in.


This reflection overwhelms me; a fisherman, a carpenter, a humble and gentle man, and even the advice he gave me...reminds me of someone else I know.  Could Jesse be a stranger in disguise?  My heart hurts over my actions, but I am thankful that the Lord is working in my selfish heart.

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16 comments :

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Christie, What a very sweet post! I am anxious to see how Jessee responds to your invitation.
Hugs,
Sherry

At The Picket Fence said...

Oh, my friend, you would not believe the perfect timing of this post! I am working on a "talk" I am giving at church about the true meaning of hospitality and you were spot on. It isn't about the parties and the decorations or having a Martha Stewart worthy meal...it is about extending ourselves to others. And that can be in our homes, or in the line at the grocery store, or at the park...anywhere! My guess is that just the fact that you welcome him to fish off the "point" is already showing him this kind of welcome and that he won't know what hit him when you extend it to him again. :-) Thank you for sharing this reminder with us and for just sharing from your own heart!
Blessings,
Vanessa

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Oh Christie!
This post really hit home! I am writing this with teary eyes, still so tender from the message at church this morning! It was all sbout God chisseling those areas of our lives that we need to be free of. I was so convicted! And now this really beautiful post.
God is working in my life in a big way right now. I can feel His loving pressence.

I am a mentor and the bible teacher for a mentoring program called Apples Of Gold. This week's lesson is on... you guessed it, hospitality. Could I please use your story? I will have a lot of trouble getting through it though.

I pray that God will give you another opportunity to be Jesus' hands, feet and heart to Jesse! This story was just that for me today.
Thank you.
Yvonne

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

What a beautiful post - we all need to be reminded of this sometimes!

Blessings,
Megan

Linda said...

What a lovely post. I was really touched and it made me reflect on my own choices lately.

Linda

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

What a beautiful post -- a perfect real to life sermon!

Sharon-The OKI StampQueen said...

WOnderful message! I am a messy person-how often I've said "not today" when asked to have someone come for dinner--as the house needs sweeping, table clearing...when my late husband had heart surgery, I was overwhelmed with taking care of him and my step-son. A friend came to visit him and I apologized for the undone dishes, etc-John P. looked at me and said, "I came to see HIM-not the house!" Good message in that, too! Blessings, Sharon

Busy as a Bee in Paris said...

Beautiful! Can't wait to hear about it!

chris said...

that was so sweet to read.
if i have anything to give to people asking for money i always give. my husband sometimes questions me but my response is not to worry about someone does with the money but that i respond to what god placed in my heart when someone has a need. i say "i did my part" "the rest is up to them"
i cant wait to hear about jesse. thanks for sharing.

At The Picket Fence said...

Oh Christie, you have made my cry. I love your tender heart. I so wish I had a friend just like you by me in real life. I just know in my heart that Jesse senses your sweet spirit and I know he is going to just love being welcomed into your home. The world needs more Christies in it! :) Can't wait to hear more about Jesse.

Heather

kpaints said...

Your heartfelt story brought tears to my eyes. How often do we let a 'stranger' pass by... I know he will be thrilled to be included!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Christie, this was beautiful. Your heart is so good. I might never have thought of offering him food. Wonderful post. laurie

Seven Sisters said...

As usual you are used as a vessel for our Lord, to reach out and touch our hearts...thanks for reminding me that relationships & inviting people into my home is more important than whether or not my house is in "company-ready" condition...and for helping me to see that stuff causing messiness interferes with my testimony and my hospitality...
much loves...
♥J. sevensisters

Karen said...

Christie, this is a really great post. I think so often we spend sooooo much time, decorating & fluffing our stuff and trying to make our house look like the magazine models and spend way to little time opening our backdoors and enjoying fellowship & time spent with others.
We think it must be picture perfect and the meal must be three course.... I could go on & on, because I'm preaching to myself today! Thanks for sharing and allowing God's Word to convict.

Terry @ La Bella Vie said...

Oh Christie, you write so beautifully and I think this is a lesson to all of us!
Thank you for such a wonderful post!
Terry

Heather @CommonplaceBeauty said...

Beautiful. I have thought of this often. This lovely post has definitely won me over, I'm following along now not just for craft inspiration but good old fashioned iron sharpening iron. Thanks so much. And thanks for visiting my blog :-). Happy Thanksgiving.

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