I've done quite a bit of traveling this summer and in all of my travels I have come to one inescapable conclusion. Hotel breakfasts are weird. It's not the people, it's the concept. If you've ever stayed at a hotel that offers breakfast then you've experienced the weirdness of this moment. For starters, it's the first time in your life that you've ever glanced in the mirror before walking to breakfast. Usually you stumble into breakfast half awake with a streak of crazy in your eye but today, because you are staying in a hotel, you actually ran a comb through your hair and attempted to wash the crazy off your face so as not to scare any children you might run into. You shuffle into this room and nervously glance from table to table looking for a spot to claim as your own, because while you've been invited for breakfast your seat isn't guaranteed. Weird right?
You stake your claim at a table in the corner and your eyes begin to scan the options hoping to spot something that resembles what you normally eat for breakfast. You wait your turn in line, politely nodding a good morning to those who are brave enough to make eye contact with you. Questions and thoughts swirl through your mind: How does this waffle maker work? What's the appropriate way to eat a bowl of cereal in public? Why are the juice cups so small? Is it even possible to make a waffle without making a mess? I wish I had the patience to make hard boiled eggs at home. Why are these plates so thin? I should get one of these juice machines at my house. Why are these little packs of butter always so hard?
As you work through your questions and the awkwardness of these moments you make your way back to your corner table and you begin to notice the faces of those you are sharing this moment with. From the outside looking in, it's an eclectic group from a wide variety of backgrounds. The skin tones run the gamut. Their purposes in being here are equally as wide. A mom and dad with kids in tow on their way to a much needed vacation. An older couple, perhaps traveling to see their grown children. A family in town for a kid's sports tournament. A few friends out for a weekend adventure.
Their stories vary as well. Some are well off financially and some struggle. Some feel accomplished and some live with a constant feeling of inadequacy. Some woke up this morning with a fresh perspective and others woke up dreading the thought of another hopeless day.
It's a strange mix of people at these breakfasts. Different stories, different backgrounds, different struggles. What's interesting is that regardless of the differences, when you walk into that breakfast room you are just like everyone else. You are a traveler in search of a meal. The hotel breakfast table is the great equalizer. When you enter the hotel breakfast room the size of your paycheck no longer matters. Your background no longer matters. Your skin tone no longer matters. You are like everyone else in the room. You're hungry and you want breakfast.
As I sat around the hotel breakfast table for the last time this summer and studied the faces of those around me I was struck by the outward differences that were obvious. I, like most other people have learned to categorize people into groups:
However, I've recently been challenged to redefine my categories. I heard someone say, "There are only two groups of people in the world, those who know Jesus and those who do not." As a Christ follower I am called to become an ambassador for the cause of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:20 on Bible Gateway says, "So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
In much the same way that the hotel breakfast is the great equalizer, there is another great equalizer coming down the road for each of us. A time when the size of our paychecks, our backgrounds, our upbringing, our status or anything else won't matter. The only thing that will matter at that moment is whether or not we have claimed the name of Jesus as our forgiveness. My prayer for me and for you is that we would be able to drop the worldly categories and see people as God sees them. My hope is that you and I as Christ followers would be able to stand boldly for the name of Jesus and become agents of change in a strange land. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.