“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” —Philippians 1:3-6
Nancy and I have a good friend who put herself through college waiting on tables at a drive-in. One of the reasons she got the job was because she was good on roller skates. Yes, roller skates. She had more than a few good stories about her days rolling around the restaurant serving her customers. Most of the time, these stories came up when we were out together at a restaurant and the issue of tipping came up. She wanted me to become a better tipper. I’m working on it.
You can tell pretty quickly when you walk into a restaurant whether you’re going to get good service or not. Good service greets you at the door, ushers you in, makes sure you are comfortable, and always puts you at ease. And when someone is doing their job well, it shows. They shine. Just sparkle. I imagine our friend was that kind of a waitress. I’m sure I would have tipped her well.
I enjoy this passage from Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, a church he helped get off the ground. They were a group of folks Paul remembered long after he left their company. The occasion for his letter was a gift they had sent him along with one of their own. Paul was in prison at the time, so being remembered by them was a big boost to his spirits. To Paul, the Philippian congregation sparkled, just shone. They knew what to do to make him feel he wasn’t alone in his suffering, and they did it.
The work of hospitality is something we are all called to do in the life of the church, the work of seeing people, of getting to know them, of easing their way. We’ll never get a tip (even if we are wearing roller skates), but we will receive thanks. I’ve enjoyed seeing the good work you all are doing in offering hospitality. I appreciate it. Along with Paul, I thank God for you and for the good work you are doing in welcoming others.