Plenty For Me

January 19, 2019
by Vincent Walter

Isaiah 58:7a – Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter? (NIV)

1 Peter 4:9 – Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (NIV)

The Bible has many references directing us to be hospitable. I was blessed to watch my parents practice this teaching on many occasions.

One such occasion happened on a Sunday in 1943. A gentleman from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and three children, attended our church in Sarnia, Ontario. Following the service, my father learned that he was starting a new job at Canadian Synthetic Rubber the next day, but they still had not been able to find a place to live — a difficult situation indeed.

My father immediately insisted that they come and stay with us until they were properly settled. They actually stayed a month, and I can't remember where we all slept. I am the youngest of six, and while three of my siblings were away serving in the war or studying at university, accommodation and food were tight, to put it mildly.

At the first meal, with five unexpected visitors, my mother whispered "FHB". This was the private code that we knew meant "Family Hold Back". This code had been used before, since my father often brought guests to share our "plenty", often without warning to my mother.

As my mother was filling a dish with fruit to serve our guest for dessert, he responded, "Plenty for me," meaning that what she had already put in the dish was sufficient. As she continued to put more in the dish, he was thinking "What's wrong with her? Is she deaf?" She thought that he was asking for more (plenty) and she wondered how he could be so selfish. Couldn't he see that there were many more mouths to feed? Finally, she said, "I'm sorry. I can't get anything more into your dish."

We all then realized the misunderstanding and had a good laugh, and she took some of his fruit back. While that was 75 years ago and my parents have now gone to their reward, the children are good friends to this day, never having forgotten my parents' hospitality.

I now live in a seniors' residence and frequently observe hospitality being practiced. One Christian lady, in particular, observes when a new resident arrives. After a few days, she invites that person to her suite for a few refreshments and a visit, primarily to make that person welcome. Even in limited space, she is practicing hospitality.

Although not everyone can invite people home for lunch after church, those who can should consider it. At least, we can all reach out to make strangers at our churches feel welcome. Let's all develop the practice of hospitality! We never know where it might lead.

Prayer: Father, help us each to be faithful in following Your Word by showing hospitality to others. May we share what we have, even if it be only a smile. Thank You for Your overwhelming hospitality to us, which we can share with others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good one Vincent!


    An inspiring story, Vincent. Thanks for sharing.


    Another great story and reminder for us all, thank you Vincent. God bless!


    No wonder you sound so wonderful. What grand parents you had! Thanks for sharing!


    Thanks for sharing a lasting memory about Christian hospitality. Blessings on your day!


    Vincent, thank you for sharing this devotional story and lesson with us. Blessings.


    FHB has been part of our family tradition since they were tiny tots and guests made an unexpected appearance!


    Thanks, Vincent. I’m going to share this with our ladies group, primarily seniors, as we talk about ideas for connecting with others.


    Thanks for sharing your story of hospitality today. May we all be more aware of how we can reach out to others in Christ’s name. Blessings.


    Your stories and you are such an encouragement to me. Thank you for following God’s inspiration and writing down your life experiences to help us all learn and grow.


    Another good one!!!
    Just reading your devotionals inspires us to want to be better human beings!
    What a beautiful legacy of hospitality and Christian love. Thank you!


    What a unique coding system for the family to use when unexpected guests came to stay for meals. Your parents set a wonderful example for their children, serving God’s call to hospitality in the process. Thank you for writing.


    I so enjoyed your devotional as it was focused on giving and having a sharing heart. It was `other’ oriented in the theme and asks us to realize we can all give something to others for the sake of the One that gave His all for us, Christ Jesus.


    Hello Vince,
    Thank you for another “good advice” devotional. Sharing what we have with others is always rewarding to heart and soul both ways even if we just share a smile.
    Blessings to you.
    (B.C.)


    I can certainly relate to this. I grew up in the years following the great depression. We always had plenty to eat, because we raised what we ate.
    I can remember my parents offering hospitality the way you describe on a good many occasions. Thank you for this devotional.


    Hi Vincent,
    Thank you for your devotional this morning. My parents-in-law did the same thing, many years ago. To be honest, we are not too good at it. We are better at visiting the people in the local long term care centres, at which both my wife and I are quite involved.
    Blessings.


    Hello,
    This is so true and it is so precious when I get to see this in action. Even more so, when little children will share something with another one who has nothing, touches my heart.
    I knew this was yours as soon as I read, ‘on one such occasion, I stopped and looked down and smiled, I was right, it was yours.
    Have a great and blessed weekend. I know you are shining there for Him.
    God bless.


    Your devotion has reminded me of how blessed we are to grow up with parents who loved the Lord and the people around them.
    On the farm my parents often gave up their bedroom to travelers.
    Dear friends have often “surfed on our couch” when unable to get back to the reserve.
    Our little ones were serenaded when they woke up in the morning.
    So many great memories.


    Dear Vincent:
    Thank you for my morning chuckle! I still like to think back on funny episodes in my family and some of them still make me laugh right out loud.
    I love being hospitable. I don’t get a chance to as much as I have cats and many people seem to have allergies. At least I can do so when I am at church or walking or standing in line. It’s amazing what a few kind words can do to bring about a warm smile or a good chuckle.
    Thank you for writing.


    Greetings Vincent,
    I was very blessed to read; Plenty for Me.
    What beautiful memories you have to share.
    Testimonies of Lives overflowing in the Fruits of the Holy Spirit! Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
    Your story shows how caring and sharing fit together like hand in glove, coming from a heart of love.
    May the Lord continue
    to fill your cup to overflowing!


    Hi Vincent. Thank you for yesterday’s devotional. It spoke to me.
    (Ontario, Canada)


    Good morning Vincent, A good reminder. Thank you for sharing a cute story. Easily seen the different meanings of the same phrase. Let us pray that the world will be hospitable to all. May you be blessed.


    Hi Vince:
    We will always remember that you were the epitome of Christian hospitality. Thank you for your amazing love and care for everyone over the decades.
    You are a Blessing.


    Hello Rtn. Vince
    Thanks for another excellent copy of the Daily Devotional. I enjoyed your recollection about the challenges of an unexpected increase in the numbers arriving for a meal and the family understanding that “FHB” meant “Family Hold Back” that sharing for that particular meal was necessary.
    I grew up with 10 brothers and sisters and this was during the depression followed by the war years. My Grandmother, who was in her 90s lived with us and then my parents hosted her sister’s child in our home for at least three years. So we always had a lot of people sitting down for a meal so my Mother also had a code which was as follows.
    FLO meant “family lay off” but she also had a second code MIK which meant “More in Kitchen” which was our directive not to hold back.
    Thanks for sharing and congratulations on another excellent issue.

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