Lessons from a Musty Motel
Rosemary Flaaten –
As we approached the motel where I would be spending the weekend, I knew my lodging was going to be substandard. I braced myself for what I would find when I entered my room. As I walked into that dank and wreaking room, my heart sank. The scratched furniture, the stained carpet and the quilted bedspread shouted from the 70’s. Hoping to find that at least the bathroom had been updated, I flipped on the switch only to discover a sink sporting an age-old chip turned rusty, a toilet wobbling on uneven tiles and black mold thriving on the tiles surrounding the tub. These premises screamed neglect.
My disappointment fuelled frustration, which quickly gave way to anger. Didn’t these people know who I was? I had travelled thousands of miles, was spending the weekend away from my family, had put countless hours preparing for this conference and this is all they had to offer. I was entitled to better.
And then a thought pierced my egocentric prerogative. I wonder how Jesus felt leaving the splendours of heaven and coming to live in rustic Judea? Streets paved with gold to dusty trails. Mansions full of gems to sheds full of cattle. Choirs of angels to clash of swords. The King of Kings, Creator of the Universe, a perfectly relating member of the Trinity entered our dank and wreaking world as a baby. The Christmas carol rang through my consciousness reminding me that He didn’t even have a crib for a bed. He came from everything to nothing.
Slowly the scales came off my eyes. My dirty carpet, mouldy tub and lumpy bed took on new meaning. Maybe God was calling me not just to speak the words of His Son but to live a life that reflected His Son and to have the attitude of His Son. I saw with a much deeper meaning these words penned about Jesus: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV).
That weekend, spent in substandard accommodations, proved invaluable. God had sent me to that place to speak a message to those people but He had also had a specific message for this messenger. If Jesus could leave the splendours of heaven for 33 years and come to earth so that each of us could have an intimate and saving relationship with God, then how small of a sacrifice is it for me to spend two days in such conditions so that people can hear His message of hope. Entitlement gave way to gratitude. Haughtiness gave way to humility. Pettiness gave way to passion.
This Christmas, every chance I get I am going to sing Away in a Manger with gusto and gratitude for the One who came to the substandard accommodations my world had to offer so that I could have hope.
PRAYER: As we celebrate Your birth, may our hearts be widened to appreciate the true significance of the Gift You brought to us.
“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24 NIV).
Today’s Devotional is by Rosemary Flaaten. Her successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships helps women process their outside-of-work relationships, so now she’s delving into these 9-5 relationships in A Woman and Her Workplace. Her Relationships book won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada’s top Christian literary honor. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.