It has been a long Thursday and you are finally home. You want to get a bite to eat and settle down for some Thursday night football. Suddenly, there is the sound of your doorbell. You quickly grab everything cluttering the area and shove it in the closet. Your new doorbell camera reveals someone you are not thrilled about seeing. Being hospitable, you open the door and let this visitor enter. All the while you pray that he or she will soon be on the way.
The very next Thursday, you invite someone whose company you enjoy to join you for dinner and stay to watch the Falcons play. You are excited about this person coming. You have cleaned the house and grilled steaks and are eager to share the evening with this honored guest. You made sure that this guest knew how to get to your house. As the time neared, you anticipated the arrival.
The difference between the visitor and the guest (according to Texas Pastor, Dr. Jim Ozier) is that the visitor is often seen as an inconvenience or an intrusion. On the other hand, the guest is wanted and valued and completely welcome. The reality is that our hospitality is sometimes more like receiving unexpected visitors than celebrating with honored guests.
I want to suggest that we try something different at Lanier – namely, from this point on refer to all newcomers as guests (never “visitors”). We are going to work on our signs and messaging to make sure that we communicate that new style of hospitality. Think about ways that we can celebrate the presence of our guests Sunday after Sunday and don’t be hesitant to put your ideas to work.
Ed Tomlinson, Pastor