“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling,” 1 Peter 4:8
I admit it, I am not the most hospitable person on the world. I’m one of those persons who never learned to smile. Most of the time, I’m stone faced. I’m a proud introvert. I don’t mean to be standoffish, but sometimes I am.
But is that an effective witness for Christ? Was Jesus an introvert? How many opportunities to witness have you, and I, missed? For example, when Jesus was travelling through hostile Samaria and stopped by a well. He starts a conversation with a woman, then offers her “living water,” as told in John 4:10. A pretty extroverted act.
Clearly, Jesus was not an introvert. He often started conversations with strangers. And we must emulate Him. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
We must be bold in sharing! While screaming the gospel on a street corner may not be the best way to share, we do not want to be a closet Christian either. “But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in Heaven,” it says in Matthew 10:33.
We must be hospitable to others. Our kindness will create opportunities to witness.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
“And he (Jesus, at the Last Supper) took the bread, and, when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them,” Luke 22:19
Truth be told, saying grace around our house is a hit or miss proposition. I usually remember if it’s a more formal occassion, like the wife and I at dinner. But eating with the grand kids I may forget. Though when I remember, it’s likely to be monotoned “God is great. God is good. Let’s us thank him for our food. Amen,” from Austin, my six-year-old grandson who usually leads grace at family gatherings.
If I’m by myself, say at McDonald’s, I usually forget to blesss the hamburger and fries. Or for meals with acquaitances–like a business lunch–it’s sometimes ackward to wait for a break in coversation so you can silently pray while your peers may or may not say grace.
If I’m self conscious folding my hands and blessing the food, I push through and say grace any way. How can I let being self conscious stop me, when the Lord again has provided a meal. I’m reminded that many people around the world–including those Americans–are hungry.
A recent survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation of 1,686 Americans found that saying grace is a common practice. Eighty percent of African-Americans, sixty percent of Hispanics, and forty percent of whites regularly say grace at least a few times a week, according to the poll. It also found that 74 percent of white Protestants and 52 percent of Catholics say a quick prayer of thanks over their food. The survey is filled with intriguing statistics.
“Saying grace is a widespread practice in the United States. About half of all Americans take a minutes to say a prayer over their food,” according to The Post’s story.
Like threads laced through the fabric of a quilt, the majority of Americans say grace. It is another ritual that makes us Americans, American.