Black Tea Strong and Sweet with a Drop of Milk

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15

She always asks me if I’d like a cup of tea.

From visit to visit she remembers I like black tea, not those fruity teas or herbal teas.  She places the sugar beside my cup and says, “You like it strong and sweet, right?”  Then she sets the milk down on the table because she knows I pour in a little milk and not cream.22615807_s

Her house is a home.  It’s clean but not perfect with all the signs of family and love and growing.  Magnets of the kids’ artwork dot the refrigerator door.  I see toys and school papers and the book she set aside so she could sit with me.

I marvel at her because this gift she has, this hospitality, this welcoming friends into her home and making them feel cozy and relaxed, this is a gift I don’t have.

I always thought hospitality meant fancy party planning and expensive china.  It meant having a house straight out of a decorating magazine and the whipping up of gourmet dishes with names I can’t pronounce.

And here I am this simple girl.

Hospitality seemed so complicated.  So stressful.

But my friend shows me this, it’s really pouring a cup of tea and welcoming someone in.

She never makes me feel like an interruption in her day and she sits there and lets time pass without stress or bother and just chats in this easy way she has of talking open and honest.

It’s refreshing like cool water on a parched soul.

All this month, I’m pursuing the presence of Christ by investing in friendship because when I’m learning from His people, I’m learning from Him.

My friend reminds me that Abraham didn’t scramble to shove dirty dishes into the oven, toss the laundry pile into the backroom and stash papers into the closet when God showed up unexpectedly with two friends.

He didn’t shoo them away with a list of why he’s too busy that day to chat, but maybe they could schedule a lunch date next week….

He didn’t flick off the lights, close the curtains and duck in a corner, pretending he wasn’t home in hopes they’d back on out of the driveway and leave him be.

No, when Abraham saw the three visitors trudging up the distant path, he “hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground” (Genesis 18:2).

Then, he immediately (and without complaint) abandoned his plans for the day and made their comfort his sole focus.

He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.  Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.  Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant” (Genesis 18:3-5).

He showed hospitality to God.

Abraham begged the Lord to “not pass your servant by” and God didn’t.  He rested in that place.  Rather than delivering a divine message and being on His merry way, He sat in the cool shade of the tree, eating and chatting with Abraham.

God and Abraham “hung out.”john15-15

And when the visit was over, the Lord, having been shown hospitality, shared with Abraham the plan for Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction.  This was not the purpose of the visit, but it was a divine revelation borne out of intimate fellowship.

While we have the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives continually, still there are moments when He shows up in clear and powerful ways in the middle of our busyness.

He appears at the tent of our heart.  He inquires if we’re home, if we’re willing to spend time with Him.

Do we tell Him to come back tomorrow because we’ve already fulfilled our quiet time quota for the day?  Or do we usher Him into the center of our hearts and show Him hospitality?

Chris Tiegreen wrote:

When He comes to you in the heat of the day, do you bow before Him, offer Him the refreshment of your hospitality, and give of your possessions?  Do you aim to serve?  Then don’t be surprised if God lingers.  Don’t be surprised if He communicates with  you as with a privileged friend.”

And this is my heart, that God linger here and “not pass your servant by.”

So we make Him welcome.  We invite Him in.  We rest in His presence and rejoice in this miracle of friendship with Him.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Invest in Friendship’?


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

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