by Kristen Narara
When I was about 7 years old and other little girls were playing with dolls and glitter pens, I used to pretend I owned a hotel – a bed & breakfast to be precise.
I created menus with special yellow paper and listed delectable items to serve my family for breakfast. Scrambled eggs, toast with jam or honey, tea, coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
I named my little business “Kristen’s Krispies.”
In the early hours of the morning, I would knock on my parents’ bedroom door, invite myself in and stand over their bed holding out the menu. With blurry eyes they were forced to place their order and I would scamper back to the kitchen to prepare their food.
Breakfast would be served on special trays in bed and I would sit next to them asking them for (positive) feedback after every bite.
“Delicious,” Dad would say.
“I love how scrambled these eggs are,” Mum would say.
And when they were finished I would present them with their bill. Seriously. I charged my parents for breakfast!
It was only years later that I understood why they thought it was incredulous that I would dare charge them to cook their own ingredients and serve it to them in their own dinnerware in their own bedroom.
And it was also only when I grew up and became a wife and hostess in my own home that I understood why my Mum was always a little discouraged to come into the kitchen after being forced to eat Kristen’s Krispies only to find the place looking like a bomb detonated in it. [Oops! Sorry Mum!]
When I think about the perfect hostess, I think of a woman who is selfless, joyful and completes what she has begun. She doesn’t leave things a complete mess at the end of the exercise and she certainly doesn’t complain when nobody offers to help with the clean up.
My hospitality is by no means perfect! First of all, I’m a “starter” not a “finisher” when it comes to the details of extending hospitality to people.
Fast forward a couple of decades and my husband and I regularly host people in our home. Every week we have up to 25 people in our living room to study the Bible and have fellowship together. Every week I bake and cook for these people, loving them by sharing our home with them.
And every week I get bitter about cleaning up.
“No one helps me,” I think to myself. “Look at them all just standing around! Did he just drop and cookie and not pick it up? Ugh!”
Just before our group broke for summer, my husband gently rebuked me on this and reminded me of Luke 6:35 which says,
“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. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
My husband reminded me that loving people in this way applies even in the small things with just cleaning up after Bible study.
What struck me the most about this is that these people are not my enemies! They are my brothers and sisters in Christ! And yet I still begrudge selfless service to them. I begrudge mercy – even minutes after meditating on the goodness and mercy of God through Christ.
Praise God that he is nothing like me!
God has shown me the greatest hospitality conceivable by rescuing me – HIS ENEMY – and adopting me as his own child (Eph. 1:5).
He has not begrudged me his very best – his own Son. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)
He has overlooked my sin and offense and put it as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
He continues to give me mercy as I struggle with sin (Rom. 8:1-4).
He began his good work in me and will not begrudge seeing it through to completion in Christ, even as I drop a few cookies along the way! (Phil. 1:6)
With the strength that God supplies through Christ (1 Pet. 4:11) I can continue to show hospitality to others.
And I will rejoice that God is not like me, but that instead he is transforming me to be like his Son!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Kristen was born in Papua New Guinea and grew up in Australia. Kristen is a member of ECC Off-Island Church in Abu Dhabi along with her husband, Nigel (aka Captain Nigel), who is an airline pilot. They have one son, Kingston. Kristen is well known for her outstanding baking skills and hospitality, and can turn any stranger into her friend for life.