I am sitting in a lovely B&B looking out of the window at a beautiful tree. Trevor and I are staying on the Alma side of the Hopewell Rocks tonight and have the luxury of this special accommodation. Sometimes in life, there are surprises and this is certainly one, for which we are grateful.
A few weeks ago, when we were offered the possibility of staying here I was a little doubtful, only because I do not want to put people out and, believe it or not, I quite enjoy sleeping in halls and church buildings. I know that I am strange, but there we are. As I was thinking about things I suddenly realized that I was being quite a Pharisee about this sleeping in churches.
A lesson that I thought I had learned a long time ago came back to me. If people want to be kind to you accept their kindness. If you think about it, when Jesus sent out his disciples he told them to accept hospitality where it was offered. I was so concerned about the purity of the pilgrimage, that I was beginning to miss the point.
In so many aspects of our lives as Christians, we can easily become lost in our self-imposed rules and we miss the purpose of God behind the things which happen. What happens then is that we become trapped in ideas which we think come from God; in fact, they are merely reflections of things deep within ourselves. As a child, I was always taught not to be a nuisance to others, that often meant not taking things when offered.
I remember once I went to an event with a friend and his family. I was given money for everything which was to take place that day, but the parents of my buddy would not let me pay for anything, no matter how hard I tried. Even when I hung back trying to not have an ice cream or whatever it was still bought for me. I was in deep trouble when I arrived home. No matter how hard I tried to explain I was unable to get myself off the hook.
This happened several times during my childhood and has left me sensitive to accepting the generosity of others. I am tied by an invented rule. It means that I am not free to receive from others as God would have me do. It is for freedom that we have been redeemed in Christ, but too often we restrict ourselves and do not receive all that there is. This also means we prevent others from exercising their gift of generosity.