Being a good Southern Mama’s boy I want to use my sweet Southern “RedNeck” Mama to illustrate what it means to welcome someone. I was taught when you welcome someone you roll out the red carpet. If we were having company over growing up my Mom would clean like the Queen of England was coming over. She was mop, wax, vacuum, dust and get the entire house all shined up. Then she would start cooking. When my mom was preparing for someone special she went nuts to cook all their favorites. She would make an impressive spread. If she wasn’t sure what their favorites were she would go overboard to have choices so they would be treated royally. This seemed like a little too much work and going way too overboard until I went out of state to college. Not being able to come home like I went to an in state school when I came home Mom put on the dog for me. All of a sudden I saw all my favorite stuff being prepared for me. It was like my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled up into one. And there was always cookies and stuff to take back to school. All my buddies in the dorm where waiting on me, if I didn’t bring them home with me. The cool thing is I could bring them home. My Mom wouldn’t have cared. Her philosophy was the more the merrier! When grand kids came along she went from me and my wife and my friends being the guest s of honor to my girls (her grand kids)being the guests of honor. She went out of her way to make any time those kids were at her house special. Did my girls feel welcomed YES! Did they know what went on at Grandma’s was done with them in mind? YES! Did they feel special and that they we welcome? YOU BET CHA! As kids it was one of their favorite palsies to visit. They never put up a fight to go because of how they were welcomed and all the fore thought and effort that was done prior to their arrival. The crazy thing is it’s still that way today. If my Mom knows her grown grand kids are coming to see her all their childhood favorites are there waiting for them. She even has Grapico (this is grape flavor soda that can only be bought in Alabama.) and my girls only drink that stuff at their Grandmothers. Her great grandson is just three and she’s already starting to make him welcome.
We also saw this several years ago between adult restaurants and kid friendly restaurants. I remember taking my small children to a steakhouse. First we were seated in the back away from all the guests who did not have children. The kids menu was an after thought, yes they gave you some bad crayons but you could tell they were only serving children because they had to. This was not the case at McDonald’s. Before they started targeting the fufu coffee crowd they went after the kids. They’re advertising was to kids. They installed huge playgrounds for kids, their food was packaged for kids but they even went a step further they prepared their restaurants to welcome and receive kids. They screwed the pictures in the wall. They ached their tables and chairs in concrete. If your kids spilled something at McDonald’s it sure didn’t upset them they had prepared their floors and walls to welcome kids. They would just blow that spilled milkshake out the door with a pressure hose. They were ready for kids. And because they welcomed kids and were ready for them the kids came and they got their parents and grandparents to come with them because kids don’t have driver’s licenses. It was sure not the food that got them there. It was the fact they welcomed kids. When we welcome children Luke 9:48 says we welcome Jesus. There are some wonderful speakers and musicians we could have at our church but if I had my pick of anyone I could have minister at my church I’d choose Jesus. By welcoming children and making our facilities kid friendly and a place designed and created with them in mind we are welcoming Jesus. When Jesus shows up great things happen.
more to come….