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Thursday, August 30, 2012
In the course of our travels through Lancaster County among our favorite places to stop is the Village Farm Market along Rt 322 east of Ephrata PA. It's on the lower level of a bank barn. On our last visit I especially noticed the ceiling, which is actually the exposed beams from the barn floor above and the decorative baskets that cover it.
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"Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings" (Romans 16:23).
A popular new consumer product the last several years (as best as I recall) is the "energy drink". In partaking you supposedly get a burst of energy. It must sell well since you see it practically everywhere. Yesterday we were at a store here in Lancaster Country that had a full shelf of these drinks.
Earlier this month one purveyor of this product, "5-hour energy", had a booth at the Ohio State Fair and I received a free sample. I didn't necessarily feel unenergetic at the time but decided to try it anyway. It felt like I got an energy jolt but maybe that's just because I thought I should! I remember studying into the late hours while in college and looking for anything that would keep me awake.
These drinks may give a few hours of extra energy for one who has grown weary driving a long distance or studying into the wee hours of the morning. But today I want to consider a particular group of people; people who energize us not for just a few hours but over a lifetime.
About ten years ago I met a corporate officer from the company I worked with at that time. We visited various companies in the area where I served as a corporate chaplain manager. He later joined us for dinner in our home. It was such an uplifting evening and after taking him back to his hotel Brooksyne and I began to reflect on the evening, both expressing that Larry was such an "energy giver". He expressed personal interest in us, in our ministry, shared about how God had worked in his life. You know the kind of person I'm describing - one who knows how to listen and when to speak in conversation, one who's more interested in others than himself. He's our friend to this day and the type of person who brings a smile to your face when speaking his name.
Think about people like this whom you know. Some are "energy givers", others are "energy drainers". You've probably heard the expression, "Some people brighten a room when they enter, others when they leave." To the left is a photo of Jim and Dorothy Schmidt, friends from Ocean City, New Jersey, who always brighten the room with their enthusiasm and joy. Jim's keen sense of humor could also be added to his energy giving resume'.
In his letters to the churches Paul often expressed heartfelt affection toward particular individuals who were like those we describe as energy givers. They not only blessed and energized him in his work for the Lord, but also the rest of the body of Christ. According to the daily text he and the whole church were enjoying the hospitality of one named Gaius. Gaius is one of the few believers that Paul baptized in Corinth. Surely Paul had an outstanding, long-term relationship with this brother, who likely was also one of the first converts to Christ in Corinth.
He had stayed faithful and now opened his home to Paul while he stayed there. Gaius had distinguished himself for his hospitality not only to Paul but to the other believers in the Corinthian church, as well. In fact his name means, "I am glad". He surely must have been an "energy giver". And through the years I've met quite a few people like Gaius. Just being around them spiritually energizes.
Sharing hospitality is a wonderful dimension of God's plan for our lives. As Christians we often call it "fellowshipping together" and I maintain that an essential component of our Christian development takes place in the realm of fellowship, as we interface with one another in our homes, churches and other places of community with true believers. I sure hope you have some folks in your life like Gaius! Brooksyne and I have so many, including many of you dear friends who read our daily messages, that we consider ourselves tremendously blessed. I encourage each of you to be an energy giver to those in your circle of influence on this day and everyday!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we want to be set apart as a people who care about others, regularly expressing care to them as we follow the Biblical mandate that each of us should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. Paul charged his readers to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus who is the supreme example of putting other's needs before His own. May we be more interested in giving energy to others than taking it for ourselves, for when we refresh others, we ourselves are refreshed. We are replenished as we give to others, for Your reservoir never runs dry and we thank You for it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: We've described in part what an energy giver is. Perhaps we should give the contrast meaning of what an energy drainer is: one who is very argumentative, monopolizes every conversation, finds fault with anything and everyone, only talks about himself, boasts endlessly about his achievements or possessions, feels his opinion is always the right one and worst of all, doesn't take a breath between sentences to let you excuse yourself from the energy draining situation you're stuck in! I'm sure you could add to the list. (I used the masculine pronoun for ease of writing purposes. Of course there are both male and female energy drainers as well as energy givers.)
The Village Farm Market is owned and operated by an old-order Mennonite group. Keith, the owner, is an earnest follower of Christ and told me he recalls when it was a steer barn! The store is filled with fresh produce, baked goods and deli items made fresh at the market. They provide ample samples! What I especially like is this mission statement.
"Our Mission: At Village Farm Market we set the example of a Christian - for each other, customers and the community. We inspire individuals to find self-worth and fulfillment by providing a meaningful workplace."
For the serious canner!
I think they mean it.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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