March 24, 2008
More Than Cookies
By Zoë Elmore
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 (NIV)
While our youngest son was in high school he started a band that practiced in our basement twice a week for three years. I spent those late afternoons baking cookie dough from five pound tubs and pouring gallons of milk for hungry teenagers (are there any other kind?). Our home was quickly transformed into the gathering place, and I knew I needed to take this opportunity to offer these teens more than just a sugar high. Soon I became known as “the band mom” because if you offer food, they will come; and if you love them they will return.
At the end of practice a few band members and “fans” would often come upstairs for one more hot cookie. As I poured the milk, they’d pour out their problems or concerns over family or friends. Many days I felt like our home was an emergency room for broken hearts, broken dreams, and broken teens. As the Lord provided opportunities to pray for and with these hurting teenagers, I was amazed at His loving grace in these young lives.
One afternoon my son mentioned that the newest member of the band would be arriving for rehearsal and asked me to send him down to the basement. When the doorbell rang, I peeked out and saw all the tattoos and body piercings. They did give me pause before opening the door but I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The young man entered and politely introduced himself; he shook my hand, thanked me for hosting the rehearsal, and then made his way to the basement. When band practice ended and the teens began to scatter; our son and his “colorful” new band-mate came into the kitchen to polish off the remaining cookies.
When the last crumb had been consumed the young man made an interesting request. “Mrs. Elmore, could I have a hug before I leave today?”
“Of course” I answered and granted his request.
“That was wonderful.” he said. He took a breath and then quietly whispered, “My mom abandoned us several years ago and I haven’t been hugged by a mom in such a long time.”
My heart sank and it was all I could do not to let this young man see my tears.
From that day forward I made sure I was available for hugs, and it wasn’t long before my husband Tom and I became a sounding board and a safe place for this young man to share his heart . There were times when he would pop in unannounced for cookies and conversation. Throughout the next two years there were opportunities to pray with him and to share the gospel. Although Tom and I never heard this young man profess a personal relationship with Christ, we know we fed more than his physical hunger as we offered him spiritual food from God’s word.
In thinking back on my tenure as “the band mom,” I’m reminded to pray for all those hungry teens that came and went from our home. I pray they would become or remain hungry for the spiritual truths held in God’s word. I pray for the Lord to put godly men and women in their pathways that would feed their spirits. And I pray that my heart would remain sensitive to the fact that I should offer everyone in our home spiritual as well as physical hospitality.
You may not be the mother of a teenage band member, but I’m guessing there are people in your life that you could be a “mom” to. I want to encourage you to be available for some cookies and conversation, and to offer them both physical and spiritual hospitality.
Dear Lord, help me to be a woman of physical and spiritual hospitality. Show me ways to be available to my children’s friends and to everyone you bring to into our home. Instruct me on making You known through grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Zoe Elmore’s blog
A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman
If the Lord is asking you to rethink your idea of hospitality; will you trust and obey or make the excuse that hospitality is not your gift.
How can you prepare your heart and your home to be a spiritual hostess?
Do you spend more time cleaning and decorating your home, or being spiritually available to those who enter your home?
2 Thessalonians 3:4, “… May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God's love and Christ's endurance.” (MSG)
Acts 10:4, “Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” (NIV)
© 2008 by Zoe Elmore. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 24 March 2008.