By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, July 6, 2017

It is a simple message, I know, but it might be the most important one: You matter. You matter. Your life matters. You are gifted and empowered and what you do with your life matters.

These affirmations have marked our Summer of Service adult Sunday School series. Each week during the summer, adults gather and discuss a topic followed by a service project. Last week, this class sent notes and a small care package to the waiters, waitresses, kitchen crews, bartenders, and staff of most of the restaurants in downtown Macon.

I had the privilege of delivering the eighty bags all over downtown. It was both hot and heartwarming. I entered each restaurant and said, "Hi, I'm Jake. I am a pastor and I have something for you." In most of the places, this is the moment when I observed a bit of skepticism. "Ugh oh.... what is this guy trying to sell me" was the most common expression.

Then something wonderful happened, when folks realized that this was simply a gesture of care and respect, at that point everything was simply a gesture of care and respect, at that point everything softened. "You mean you aren't trying to sell me something?" I understood the skepticism. I've seen too may well intentioned Christian communities trying to offer people grace by convincing people of their wrongness through disgust and judgement, instead of empathy or compassion. What about grace?

Let's continue to do good work with people inside and outside the walls of the church. Let's kindle the grace of God enough to know that our work of hospitality really, really matters.