Reflections on Faith and Community

Dear friends,

On this page, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. You can also find them on the church's YouTube Channel in the "Weekly Word" playlist. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.

Andrew S. Odom

09/05/2016 7:57 PM

Lagniappe of the Heart

09/05/2016 7:57 PM
09/05/2016 7:57 PM

Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. (Luke 14:23)

While at a dinner party one day, Jesus tells the party goers a parable where someone throws a get-together, but none of his friends can come. So, the host tells his servant to go out and invite the poor. The servant returns with a report that there is still more room. The host, now desperate, instructs the servant to go outside the city and compel people to come. The point of the story becomes obvious: God extends the same kind of radical hospitality to us, and we are called to participate by showing radical hospitality to others.

Years ago when I was in the restaurant business, we had something called lagniappe. The term has roots in Spain but eventually found a place in New Orleans and spread from there. It means: something given as a bonus or extra gift, or going the extra mile. We would have contests in the restaurant for who offered a guest the best example of lagniappe. I remember one of my “wins” was when I ran across the street to a bar to purchase a certain pack of cigarettes (remember when people smoked in restaurants?) because we did not sell them. I received the lagniappe award for the night.

In the restaurant, we made lagniappe a matter of business, you know, a way to stay ahead of the competition. Jesus is charging us with something different. We are not being asked to practice hospitality because it will help increase the God's customer rating. It is fine and all for business, but it is not the church. No, in the church, hospitality is a matter of the heart, not a spreadsheet. We go the extra mile for others simply because our lives have been invaded by the grace of God. Lagniappe of the heart is more than just a motto we hang on our wall, it is a mark of the Christian life.