Lessons From a Party – Part 1 – Learning to be Open

I recently celebrated another birthday. Let’s just say I’m approaching 30…yikes. 🙂 We celebrate birthdays in my family by having a dinner over at my dad’s house. We really use any excuse we can find to fire up the grill and make a big meal.

The party was great, but the best part was the two lessons I learned while I was there. You see, I’m starting to have “Becoming Last” vision. Have you ever been passionate about something to where you start seeing it everywhere? For example, when you are engaged, you find any way to work your fiance into the conversation. I guess politics would be a good example too. If you are really passionate about a certain position, you tend to listen and see things through that lens. Well, I’m starting to see things through the Becoming Last lens. I love catching people in the act of Becoming Last and learning new ideas from them.

That night, I was taught two very important lessons. I’ll share the first one now and the second one later today or tomorrow.

Even now, I’m not even sure how to phrase the first lesson I learned. We’ll call it: Learning to be Open. Most of us probably imagine ourselves as rather friendly people, but I’ll be the first to admit that my schedule does not leave much wiggle room for letting others into my family’s world. As fast paced and as busy as our lives are these days, unless you make an intentional effort to build relationships with people it is unlikely to happen. So as we seek to love people the way God loves them we should not wait for some mystical, magical moment, but we should make the practical step of sharing our time and our family with them.

My dad and my step-mom Dee are exceptional at this. They constantly invite new people to join our family events. And these are not “important” people as the world would see them. They aren’t inviting people over to gain an edge or get ahead. Over the past few years, I’ve seen them befriend people who have just moved to America, just moved in their neighborhood, or are going through a significantly difficult time in their lives.

At the party, they had invited their new neighbor over for dinner. She was so appreciative and even brought over some gifts to show her appreciation! It was the neighbor who actually taught me the second lesson, but you’ll have to wait for that!

So I’m going to challenge us to learn to be open. Can we share a family dinner with someone this week? Could we plan ahead and invite someone next week? Who are the new, hurting, lonely, or needy that we could befriend?

I know this will take building some margin into my life, but I believe God wants my life to be more of a blank slate than what it is currently. What if I stopped planning so much and gave God the opportunity to create the story he wants with my family?

Thanks dad and Dee for teaching us to be open. Who can you be open toward this week?

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