I grew up in Texas but I chose to go to seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Little did I know that I was going to an area that seemed to think that the Civil War had not ended. The other unexpected feature of my three years in Atlanta was that I was amazed by their “Southern Hospitality” and to pronounce that correctly you had to add a few syllables to those two words for it to have its full effect.
As it turned out my roommate grew up in Atlanta. His father was one of my professors. His Dad was from Alabama and his mother North Carolina and they included me in many family dinners. In fact, they cared for me after I had an eye surgery. I especially loved his mother’s accent; she was a warm and friendly person who had her own travel agency. Her vocabulary was sugar coated with the words gorgeous and wonderful and marvelous with the added “Southern” pronunciation. There is nothing that makes you feel more at home than a warm welcome.
I found that same hospitality in Hawaii. Nothing makes you feel more welcome than to be greeted with a necklace made of flowers or shells. It just says, “I am glad you are here.” Even when I knew my wife paid someone $16 each to meet us at the airport with lays and a greeting; it still was a great feeling. Several times when we entered a store we were greeted with someone placing a shell necklace around our necks, a warm welcome warms your heart. I thought it must cost the business something to buy those necklaces for every customer, but as I look at it, it is an investment; I wager a bet that little necklace around the neck has paid for itself many times over in purchases and word of mouth advertising.
As Christians, we of all people should practice hospitality in our homes, churches and in our interaction with people.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2