Tuesday, October 13, 2009

free pizza

     So today Mary and I went out to eat for lunch at Mamacitas with her friend from CHOC (Community Homeless Outreach Center). His name is Norbert. Mary really connected with him when she was volunteering at CHOC during our urban project this summer. The guys at CHOC play Spades all day, and Mary loved playing cards with them. So Mary and I ordered a pizza ahead of time, and we planned on paying for it, but Norbert insisted on paying. I was holding my $20 bill, and he put his ahead. I didn't know what to do. This is a man who has only a little bit of money to begin with. But I think it probably made him feel good to be able to treat us for lunch.We had a really good time at lunch just talking. But I felt really bad about him treating us. He wouldn't even take the leftovers, which makes sense because he's homeless... he would have to carry it. So here I am with a free pizza AND the leftovers for a future meal. I've been blessed in excess.
     Mary and I were upset that Mamacitas is only offering their special deal on a large cheese pizza for $6.60 on Mondays and Tuesdays now, so we had to pay $10 for the pizza. We didn't think that WE had the money for it. Then Norbert just up and pays for it. It was really an eye-opening situation. It was a real life situation of the parable of the poor woman who offers up the only money she has and how that means a lot more than a regular person giving a lot more money. It was a lesson in giving for me. Betsy is always talking about radical hospitality, and I think that treating someone to a pizza is radical hospitality.
     I'm getting more and more exposed to hospitality. I never was before because my family doesn't usually have guests or anything. My car actually broke down this morning (in the middle of an intersection), and I called my dad to come save me. So he shows up and says that the problem is that there isn't enough gas in the car. How embarrassing! But it's a good thing it isn't a serious problem, you know? So yeah, I call my friend TJ to ask if he has a gas can, and he doesn't... but he knew someone who did. So TJ goes and gets the can and puts gas in it. He brings it, and sure enough... that was the problem. Well TJ brought like 2 gallons of gas to me, and my dad insists on paying him back for it. TJ said it was fine, and he didn't need the money back. But my dad gave him $6 anyway. My point is... my dad does not accept hospitality. He even wanted to pay my uncle when my uncle invited our family over for crabs. That was just ridiculous because of course my uncle wanted to treat everyone!
     I tell this embarrassing story of my car "breaking down" to say that I'm classically trained not to accept hospitality. I felt really bad about calling TJ to ask for help. I felt like I was really troubling him. But because my family doesn't like to let others help, I'm not really good at showing hospitality myself. I do love to treat people, give gifts, and come to the rescue. But sometimes it isn't my first instinct. My first instinct is to split the bill evenly and make sure it's exactly even. My instinct is to say that I don't have the money for the pizza. But if Norbert is willing to use his limited money to treat us to a pizza, then I need to be willing to do the same.

Luke 21
 1As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.[a] 3"I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

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