Hospitality Check

Keeping things clean is one of my passions and a personal value statement. I admire those committed to this important task. Recently, I had a brief conversation with an employee charged with the responsibility of cleaning the restrooms at the local restaurant we frequent on most Friday evenings. It's the one with the country store! :) He was wearing a kitchen white apron, and carrying an all purpose cleaning rag in one hand and a fully equipped caddy in the other.

I engaged this worker at dinner time while he was finishing up his cleaning the restroom sinks. I questioned, "Are you tidying up?" and he answered, "This is one of the regularly scheduled 'Hospitality Checks!'" I then followed that with the affirmation, "You've got things looking real good!" After I'd exited and was back at the table, I thought about how unique the euphemism, 'hospitality check,' was. When I worked in retail and had to do this often unpleasant detail as a part of my job, I simply called this cleaning the restrooms, but I knew that the biggest challenge was cleaning the stools! I like the renamed task, 'hospitality check!' It almost sounds like something anybody might want to get his hands into, but perhaps "Not!"
The Courtesy Room
At Cracker Barrel

Those who know me personally understand that I have a quirky sense of humor. I can imagine that during the initial training of a restaurant newbie by his seasoned manager that he informs the new kid on the restaurant block that part of his responsibilities will include regular and timely 'hospitality checks.' And I further imagine that the reaction of this uninitiated employee is to immediately comply, but then gives away his misunderstanding of the new task by responding, "Will I need a white shirt and tie? And will I be working with the assistant manager in the dining room?"

What are the areas of our lives that need regular cleaning? I can visualize the different areas of cleaning in our houses. There are the surfaces. These are the easy to see broad and wide areas of every day living seen in our words and actions. Then, there are the cracks and crevices. These areas are less visible and often hard to get to places in our thought life and inner being, our hearts that we try to keep hidden from others and we want to keep them from God too!

Next, there are those areas that can only be cleaned when something is moved. This implies that something needs to change. Initially, when we first come to Christ, this is what happens as we repent of sin and allow the Holy Spirit to redirect our lives into a completely new direction. Change is also the on-going, every day work of God in transformation or sanctification. And He uses anything and everything in His will to move us closer to the image of Christ. Change often occurs when things are shaken up. We are creatures of comfort. I love sameness, continuity, and routine. But, regularly I take out the throw rugs and give them a good shaking to get the dust, lint and dirt out of them. God often shakes us up and out by using circumstances, situations,  heartaches, suffering and losses to develop His maturing followers. These are the means to spiritual growth.

David made an impassioned and prayerful plea for forgiveness in the Psalms, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalms 51:10 KJV ). This verse committed to memory would make a great way to begin or even to end any given day of our lives. John the Apostle also speaks about the need for cleansing, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). During our personal quiet times, we would do well to remember that God values clean hearts.

How has the Lord done a 'hospitality check' on you lately? Be glad that the Father loves and cares for His children enough that he regularly conducts such check-ups! It is His work in us to change us through the power of the Holy Spirit so that we become growing and productive  servants of God!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com





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