Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Learning Humility Through Hospitality

Learning Humility Through Hospitality - A Simpler Grace

This post is part of The Peony Project's monthly link-up

One of the best ways to learn humility is by serving others, also known as hospitality.  I'm not writing about entertaining, which most would think of when they hear the word.  I'm talking about selfless acts of service.  
I've been in the service industry most of my working life.  My first job was as an attendant at a dry cleaners, then I worked customer service at an office supply store.  From there I had a job as a server in a large chain restaurant before holding several positions in both front and back offices in the medical field.  With these types of jobs, come certain frustrations. There is nothing more discouraging than serving someone free lemon water and a bowl of soup then watching them pull out a calculator to figure the tip.  Ok, maybe the only thing more frustrating is answering the phone on a Monday morning at a busy doctor's office and getting chewed out for not working on Sundays.  

I think the general consensus for those who work in the service industry is that you are most certainly going to run into someone who doesn't appreciate what you do for them or doesn't think you do enough.  They will belittle your existence, cut your gratuity to the bare minimum (if you get any at all) and will generally forget that you ever lived.  And this is when you've provided them with good service.  The upside is that more people will appreciate you, give you a larger tip than you deserve and will sing your praises to your boss.  

The truth about those who work in the hospitality field is that they don't do it for the money - because it usually isn't that good - but they do it because they love to serve people.  We are glorifying God through our humility in serving others.

The Bible has quite a few references to hospitality including how we can be hospitable to others and instructing us to put guests in the seat of honor [Luke 14:7-14] and taking a lower place at the table. There is one act of hospitality from the Bible that I think would truly make you humble and that is washing someone's feet.  Back then, everyone walked everywhere - and they didn't have paved streets.  When a guest came to your home, it was hospitable to offer them a tub of water to wash their feet.  It was even more hospitable to wash their feet for them.

Someone who demonstrated this selfless act of service well was Mary of Bethany.  While her sister Martha made the meal and served her guests, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus [John 12and washed them before anointing them with very expensive perfume and drying them with her hair.  When I think about present day, not many people are this humble anymore.  You might say, "Yeah, but it was Jesus. Of course, she washed his feet."  That's true.  Then you read later in John that right before Passover, Jesus washed [John 13:1-7every last one of his disciple's feet.  Can you imagine the King, the Son of God on his knees, washing a lowly human's feet?

Because I know my Lord and Savior was humble enough to serve others, it makes it easier to deal with demanding customers and clients who don't appreciate your hard work.  It makes it so much easier to get through a tough day at work knowing that my Lord chose to serve others, even when he could have had a life of others serving him.

How do you show hospitality to others?  Do you find that it makes you humble?

Hop over to Heavens to Betsy (our home base) to read her post on hospitality.

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  1. This is so important. If the Son of God Himself did not demand to be honored and appreciated...who are we to insist on our 'rights'? It is indeed a humbling experience to work in any service profession (I've done housework for others and worked in the hair industry, but never food service, which is even tougher, I'm sure!). It's so true that the way customers treat us can make or break our day, but it's important to keep choosing to serve excellently, no matter how customers act.

  2. Rachel, you're right. It is important to do any job well, because we are glorifying God by doing our work to the best of our ability. Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment!