The Heart of Hospitality- Golden and Silver Threads

This true story impacted me deeply years ago.  It still captures my heart and the essence of how I want to live (and what I want Heartistry to reflect).

Edith Shaeffer and her husband were pastoring a small, rural church in America during a time of economic difficulty. Desperate, unemployed men would ride the rail cars, stopping at various small towns looking for work. Many times, there would be a knock on the Schaeffer's door and Edith would open it to find an exhausted, despondent man asking for food. Even though she battled to feed her own family on their small salary, she would ask the hungry man to wait on the porch as she prepared him something to eat. Edith would warm some soup and slice fresh, homegrown tomatoes to make a healthy sandwich. She would send one of her children into the backyard to pick a small flower and a sprig of ivy. Covering a tray with a pretty linen tray cloth, she added a small, lit candle, the tiny flower bouquet and a tasty meal. She included a Gospel of John to give spiritual nourishment and then would carry the beautiful tray out to the waiting man. As she handed the tray to her guest, the grown man would begin to weep. Gratitude for the food was present but he was touched by something far deeper. It was the profound impact of being valued as someone who deserved to receive a tray prepared with such love and care.  Edith’s simple meal on the pretty tray fed both the body and the soul.

This story captures what I call the Golden and Silver Threads of hospitality. Feeding a hungry man is the thick, golden thread of generosity and true hospitality; presenting the food with beauty and creativity to show the value of the recipient is the smaller, silver thread.  And both are needed. Together they impact others lives deeply.

Living generously with both the "Golden and Silver threads" present in our lives is what I wish to inspire and equip people to do through Heartistry

 To Ponder:

  • How much longer do you think it took to set a pretty tray than just to hand the cup and sandwich to the waiting man? 
  • How did those additional few minutes impact the man?
  • How can we make the equivalent effort today?

Read about how to set a pretty tray in this blogpost.

We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas (you can add them in the comments below) and please share this story with others, encouraging them to be part of our Heartistry community.