“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:9-10
In thinking about my childhood, I wonder exactly what impacted the strength of my servant’s heart. What did I enjoy playing as a child? What talents did I try to foster? What activities brought delight to my afternoons? Suddenly, memories started flooding my mind, and they all had a common theme: hospitality.
Running a restaurant, building a house outlined with sticks, or baking mud pies…those were usually my choices when I got to pick what we were going to play. One summer, my sisters and I decided to open a mud pie bakery. The basement was literally filled with extravagant mud pies. We used red clay, potting soil, and regular old dirt to make different types of chocolate. To mold the pies, we used various containers—even some forbidden ones from my mother’s kitchen. The finishing touches were fluffy yellow dandelions, tender blades of grass, velvety rose petals, plump pebbles, and golden acorns. Each pie was unique and loaded with tender loving care. If you tried real hard, you could smell the gooey sweets all the way up and down our road. Wonderfully colorful customers paid top prices for our pies. News spread far and wide about the tiny bakery in the basement. Of course, the customers were imaginary, but believing they had certain expectations gave me the desire to make people happy by cooking for them.
One of the first real desserts I learned to make was fried pies. I learned from my mom, and my motivation was seeing my dad smile. My grandmother had made fried pies for him all his life. I put everything into rolling out the dough, filling the pies, and frying them to perfect crispiness. My proudest moments were when he bit into the pie and the yummy filling popped out the sides; declaring their goodness. I quickly learned that I could capture his heart with banana pudding, coconut pie, and yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
Over the past couple of years, my servant heart and baking heart have collided. I have realized that I can use my gift of hospitality and baking to touch the lives of the people God places in my life. Time spent baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies for a best friend is so worth it when I know it makes them feel special. Words can’t express what I feel when a grieving family enjoys a homemade chocolate cake at the funeral dinner of their loved one. My nieces and nephews make my day when they make requests for my specialties.
When you can reach out to someone with a homemade treat, it proves how important they are in your life. When I use this heavnely gift, I feel closer to God and I thank Him for teaching me lessons about hospitality throughout my life. Lessons of hospitality that began in the old days at the mud pie bakery.