IT’S MORE THAN A TOWEL By Lori A Alicea

Towels.  More than a wrap after a hot steamy shower.  More than a stack of fluffy color coordinated terry cloth to complete the bathroom ensemble.  The delight of squirming wet babies scooped from their baths resembling zoo babies in their animal decorated towel hoods to keep them warm.  It’s more than a towel we dry off with after our bath.  It’s more than just a towel.

When I think of serving, I think of towels.  My husband David throws a towel over his shoulder each time he serves me at a sink full of dishes.  Maybe his shoulder is a convenient place for towels when dishes are ready to be dried.    Maybe it’s my reminder that great leaders are servant leaders; that no task is beneath them.

I could write a book filling the pages of dedication that have earned my husband his stripes for lifetime service to our family.  He proudly wears the uniform reserved only for servants, a high position for those willing to answer the call to go low.  Laundry, cooking, housework, yard work and car repairs make the short list.  My husband delighted in shining patent leather shoes to a sparkle for his little girls before church.  Blow drying their hair after baths was “special time” he believed all daddies enjoyed.  Neighbors could hear the laughter of “catch” in the backyard between a father and his sons.  Little league games stole the base a father’s heart in the summer,   yet gave away his heart through date nights and time over coffee with his wife.

Jesus answered the call of servant leadership in John 13:1-17 (NIV) when as Lord, he bowed and washed his disciple’s feet, then dried them with his towel.   Though his disciples not understanding, Jesus urged these twelve to also take up their towel and wash another man’s feet.  Stating that “16no servant is greater than his master…”, “17that you will be blessed if you do…”

Throughout the decades the pages of our marriage boasts a best seller because one man understood the power of the towel; an attitude of his heart.  To lead you must serve.  In going low you will go high.  To wash another man’s feet you will be blessed.  To answer the call you take up your towel.

A TABLE SET FOR THE UNSEEN GUEST By Lori A Alicea

 

 As an event decorator for more than a decade, I’ve been asked a myriad of questions over the years regarding my craft: “Why all the fuss?”  “Why go to such length regarding the details?”  “What about the great expense?”  While most of the time “It’s my love for what I do” is answer enough.  But to probe my heart one would discover I decorate with the thought of every guest, especially the unseen guest, in mind.

 Nobody loves a party more than I do.  I light up like a Christmas tree at the mere mention of making your event dreams come true.  I hyperventilate in the candy store of Pinterest.  I savor the hunt for napkin folds, centerpiece ideas, favors, intimate lighting and linens.  Glue guns are my weapon of choice and I dream in glitter of every color in the crayon box.  It’s a mystery that setting a beautiful table fills my tank, yet it does.  But it’s also the invited list of names I want to overwhelm in the details that motivates my passion, those selected guests who have no idea of the tables prepared just for them.

 If truth be told though, some guests rarely notice the trappings of the table.  A tablecloth would have sufficed; even a wrinkled one.  The decoration expense might be viewed as a waste and unappreciated favor gifts are left behind by many.  No matter the opinion though, this event decorator will continue to pour out her heart onto her guests, especially the unseen guest whom she truly decorates for, the Lord.

If the Lord is with us always and our standard for service requires, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23 (KJV).”  Then I must always sense the presence of the unseen guest taking his reserved seat at the table, in hopes that my hands have prepared from a spirit of excellence befitting the Son of God.

As Jesus prepares for us a place in heaven, I’ve often imagined the banquet-table we will one day dine beside him at, pondering its splendor and extravagance.  If heaven’s streets are paved in gold and its gates layered in pearls, eyes can’t conceive what will take our breath away and bring us to our knees when Jesus beckons us to take our place at the table.  If we are called to bring heaven here to earth as Matthew 6:10 (NIV) reminds us, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Then it is my innermost desire that every table I set display even the smallest hint of our heavenly place.

Oh, that we all desire to bring heaven here on earth through the gifting we are called to.  May we always be mindful to serve in excellence, “as unto the Lord”, as he is the unseen guest in everything we do.  Never forgetting the ultimate end is that others might see Jesus’ amazing love for them through us.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS By Lori A Alicea

Thanks so much for joining me!  It is a pleasure to meet you, even if in the sharing of these words.

Through this blog it is my heartfelt desire to encourage others as according to:

Proverbs 25:11 NIV, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

May you find hope, inspiration or a “word in due season” today through the words I believe God has given me to write.

I take no credit as all good gifts come from God.  But I do offer myself a willing vessel for Him to speak through.

Psalm 45:1 NKJV speaks my true heart:

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”