Linda, my wife, enjoys having people in our for dinner. She has a gift for making the place look warm, inviting and beautiful. She has an eye for detail, organization and function. The plates, the flowers and the lighting all are things she takes great joy in arranging. Now, some people do these things to extremes, trying to find perfection, driving others around them nuts with endless details and fault-finding. She’s not that way.
The reason she loves to make the house ready for people to come over is because she wants our home to be an inviting and warm place. A place where people feel and know they are loved and valued. Usually, when people come over, we have most of what we’re going to serve (appetizers, drinks, main course) already done or close to done. If it’s a potluck the house is set to recieve. When people are in our home, we want to focus on them, not be rushing around getting things ready and being hurried. As much as possible, we want to be relaxed and engaged. Linda sees it as a way of loving those God has called to be family. And a way of honoring people God has brought to our lives. By setting the table, by setting the tone, there is a freedom to focus on those God brings into our home.
People often comment they feel at home in our house. It is by no means a fancy place! The house needs gutters and paint. Our furniture is old and shows signs of wear. The area rug in our living room was taken from the display floor of a clothing store in the local mall over 25 years ago. But the house is beautiful, relaxing and welcoming. Our family, friends and visitors feel at peace here. Many deep, meaningful times have happened here over the years.
So what can a worship leader learn from this?
Knowing where we want to draw people’s focus. Being clear on what our focus is and how to bring others into that focus. We want to clear away the busyness and the rushing. We want to be present before the Lord, we want to be engaged as a worshipper and as one who lead others in worship. With all done and prepared so that with warmth and invitation, we can draw them in and then show them their place at the table in His presence. We want to set the environment, so that those we lead are free to see Him and just be with Him. We want to demonstrate what being engaged and present with the Lord looks like, we want to show what it looks like to have Him first and foremost in our worship. We disciple others by being a living, breathing disciple ourselves.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” Matt hew 22:2