Friday, September 19, 2008

Ah! Just Grow Up

Several months ago we began inviting a young married couple to our home on Wednesday nights before church. This was a time to get together, but also a chance to help provide a meal when we suspected their finances were low. This has grown into a larger event with several college students that serve the church and must be there early on Wednesday nights. This gives them a warm home-cooked meal while not making them spend their money. We have never requested that they bring anything because, though we get pleasure out of it, we look at this as a way to serve our church family.

Our guests usually arrive between 5:00 and 5:15 and have to be across the street at the church at 6:30. So there really is little time to socialize. It is more about meeting their needs and offering our friendship. In fact this past Wednesday David and I did not even get to sit down and eat until after everyone else had left. We also do not have enough kitchen chairs for nine people. On top of this we don't have a dishwasher, so everything must be hand washed by me.

I had recently gotten the feeling that when another adult member at church heard (not from us) about this he was upset. My suspicions were confirmed last night when we got a phone call in which we were berated for not inviting him. We explained that we have only invited young people who have very little money and that many of them may crave a home atmosphere. The caller could not understand why he was not invited to the "party."

It took some talking on Rich's part to explain who we have invited and why. He tried to convince this person that we are reaching our limit on the amount of work, time and expense on adding new people. Because this is a weekly event, we can only budget for so many. Rich explained to our caller that he has a family and home to eat at each night and so had not been invited. The caller persisted in asking if he brought the dessert, could he come? Rich told him that by all means he could come, but we don't always have time for dessert and don't want the students to think they are expected to bring anything.

It's probably a good thing I was not the one who answered the phone. My answer would have been along the lines of "it's time for you to grow up."

Instead of assuming the worst in others by thinking we were purposely excluding him, it would be better to think the best of others. Instead of letting this fester for the months that we have been opening our home, why hadn't he just asked us why he wasn't invited. As Christians we need to be looking for ways to meet other's needs and not for ways that others can meet our wants.

I am hoping this is only one person's attitude so that we don't have to eventually discontinue this because too many feel that they have a right to be included.


Mrs.RGS said...

What a curious man. He feels slighted because he does not get invited to your weekly "parties". He must feel that he is a very good friend of yours and needs to be included in all of your doings.

Needing to explain to him that it is a ministry and not a party -- yes, Rich did a better job than I would have, too.

Maybe if you challenged other church members to join you in this ministry he'll have a better understanding of what you are doing.

Now, for the lack of chairs -- that is a problem many of us would have BUT doing dishes by HAND -- that elevates you to super saint status in my eyes.

Kim said...

Though the man is a friend I would not say a good friend. We have never been invited to his home for dinner or anything else. He has dropped by many times and I usually do offer him refreshments, which I do with other guests.
We have never really talked about what we are doing because we don't want it to be about us.
I actually bought a couple of stools that can be stashed in the porch and used on these nights. Luckily the students prefer grocery store bottled water and some meals we use plastic plates. So I am not as saintly as I could be! But we use lots of oversize cooking pans.
Rita, this week it's BBQ ribs, baked beans, homemade biscuits and corn on the cob so you are welcome to come on over.

Kathi said...

I loved this post. What a wonderful idea. This person does need to grow up. I wonder if he has considered doing something similar? If he would he would not feel the need to be included. Bless you. You have inspired me. Kathi

Kim said...

You will not believe this but our uninvited guest showed up last night. He then proceeded to tell me he doesn't like ribs and began to dig into the dessert before anyone else began to eat. He took over the conversation then left.
I was so angry that this morning I contacted him and asked him not to dominate the conversation with his ministry. He told us the same info three to four times about his ministry and when others tried to veer the conversation into another direction he would return back to his.
He told me then next time he would ask the others to step out to talk about his ministry. I told him no he wouldn't he could wait until they arrived at church!
I have a feeling that next week will not go well and we will have to tell him he will not be allowed back. Not much fun.
I am trying to be as nice to this man but he is not making it easy.
Rita, the ribs were actually on sale last week- Smithfield prok ribs at $1.88 a pound. I made homefries, corn on the cob, cornbread muffins and the Bush's beans were on sale at $1.60 a can. I made caramel brownies for dessert.