Photo by ronnieb on Morgue File.
You walk into your home to find a couple you don’t know sitting in your living room, eating a slice of cake. Tell us what happens next.
I do not think this has ever happened to me. I think once or twice one of my wife’s girlfriends may have been visiting when I came home that I had not met before. Of course, in these cases, I am only required to exchange pleasantries and retire to my solitude! I know they would rather chat amongst themselves anyway; and, for my part, I am more than happy to let them!
I am not sure what I would do if I came home and a strange couple was sitting there eating cake. I think it would depend on a few factors. First, is my wife home? If I come in and this couple is sitting at the table with my wife, then I will assume they are safe enough to be there. However, if I enter my house and find the couple, but no one else there, I will instantly be very suspicious! A second thing will be the demeanor of the couple. Are they relaxed and enjoying their cake and visit? Or, are they upset and eating the cake only to placate my wife? Third, and perhaps the most important factor of all, what kind of cake is it?! If it is a cake I enjoy, say strawberry, and I see that this gluttonous couple has eaten the last piece, I will feel very much betrayed! If, however, it is a cake I do not care for as much, I will be thankful they have rid me of the task of having to eat it!
In all likelihood, I may at first suspect they are some sort of husband and wife sales team. I will, at first glance, imagine they are selling insurance or vacuum cleaners together. Then again, they could possibly be assassins sent to my domicile to kill me by my arch-enemy! On second thought, I am not aware of any arch-enemies, so this is probably implausible.
My wife is far more outgoing than I am. I have no problem admitting this fact. As I have said numerous times, I am an introvert. And though I have made giant strides as I have gotten older to become more outgoing and welcoming; in the end, I am still a hopeless introvert!
I do not mind having people over; in fact, I often enjoy it . . . well, depending on who the people are! Nor do I mind an occasional surprise. It does help me, however, in normal situations, to know company will be there so I can charge myself up for the encounter. I have to do a few Jedi mind-tricks to prepare myself for the stimulation of social interaction and conversation.
I have often said it is one of God’s little jokes to create me as an introvert (which is obviously a high blessing!) and then call me into ministry! You see, when you are in ministry, no matter to what degree, you must, inevitably, deal with people! It reminds me of the few occasions when I have been asked why I did not become a medical doctor? I simply reply, because I do not like being around sick people! The irony, of course, is that in ministry you are often around sick people!
I am sure it is a rather comical sight to see a hopeless introvert stand in front of a congregation and speak publicly! I know the first sermon I preached, when I was seventeen, was a heart-pumping experience to say the least. I think my family was more nervous than I!
While a tinge of the nervousness remains, and I think this is a good thing, you learn to adept and fit the occasion.
Also, not only as a minister, as a teacher/preacher of the gospel of Christ, but even more basic, as a believer and Christ-follower, I am called to welcome those whom I encounter. I am called to extend to them the grace and love of Christ. I am called to serve and invite them into my home and life. While we must be wise about such things, it is still the calling of Christians to reach out to others and show them the love and grace of the Father.
Jesus taught that when we give a cup of cool water to someone thirsty, we are ministering unto him. As Christians, we are to be ever aware of those ministry opportunities around us. We must allow our minds, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, to be on ready to see those potential needs and opportunities for service and witness.
So, if having a couple over and serving them cake is the way God ordains for me to minister and serve, then so be it. Ultimately, it is for his glory and honor and not a matter of my introversion or personal likes or discomforts. In the end, I am his and I am here to serve him by serving others.
I suppose a nice chit-chat around the table with a good slice of strawberry cake is a small sacrifice to make!