After one of our Saturday Bible Schools in Los Guidos, Costa Rica, we found ourselves in the home of a precious Costa Rican lady named Alicia. When she walked with her children to the great big tree in the center of sector 8, where we held our weekly program, she pulled me aside to invite us to come to her house after Bible school. We gladly accepted the invitation, although I must confess that I was a bit nervous. We did not know the lady very well, and at that point, we had never been invited to enter any of the dilapidated shacks, which covered the mountainside.
As soon as all of the other children had walked back to their own homes, we walked to Alicia’s home with her 3 children. My eyes had to adjust a bit when we first entered the dirt-floor dwelling. There was no electricity, so therefore the only light was from the doorway, and from a “window” which had been cut from the tin and wood-scrap walls. The home was just one room, which was partitioned by sheets hanging across rope, which was attached to the ceiling.
Alicia excitedly welcomed us to her home. I noticed that the dirt floor had been neatly swept, and all of her meager belongings were in order. On the table, I noticed several broken glasses from several different patterns, a small plate full of saltine crackers, and a chipped pitcher of lemonade. There were no chairs for us to sit, so we simply stood around the table and listened while she talked of her life and her love for the Lord. Such sweet fellowship of believers we experienced that day! She offered us the crackers and lemonade, which we received with a gratitude that had nothing to do with what was offered. I was overcome with her pure hospitality. Although we had been repeatedly warned against eating or drinking in that area, I took what was offered, and silently prayed the prayer that my missionary friend, Ben Pierce, had once shared with me: “Lord, I’ll get it down, if You keep it down!”
When we were thanking her for her invitation and hospitality, she joyfully responded, “Este es mi fiesta!”, “This is my party!” a party given in honor of us; A party given with grace and elegance, yes elegance, despite the resources that she had to work with. Such pure hospitality and generosity I have rarely, if ever, seen since that day. And such conviction it brought to my soul.
How many times do I resist reaching out to others because my house is not perfect, or my dishes don’t match, or I don’t have time to create an extravagant meal? And how many times do my guests leave my house feeling the joy of being honored, and the warmth of sweet fellowship. After that day in Los Guidos, I am without excuses. I need to share my “party”. The kingdom of God is a party, to be shared by all that we are privileged to come in contact with. And scripture tells us that when we do it for “the least of these”, we do it unto Him. So whenever you reach out to anyone with a pure, loving heart, you are reaching up to Jesus. That shows extravagant love for Him.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:8-10