A friend told me a story on Sunday that I want to share with you. It is a Louise story. My friend Joanne has a cousin who she recently talked to at a family reunion. In the midst of their conversation, Joanne found out that her relative was attending First Baptist of Gainesville. This was a welcome surprise since Joanne had invited her to church events before, with no success. She was just not interested in the church thing. Knowing that Ray and Louise attend First Baptist, Joanne asked her if she had met them. The answer was yes. In fact, she said that Louise’s hospitality was a key factor in drawing both she and her husband into the church.
It all started when they came to see a family member get baptized. The plan was come, watch, and leave. But at some point Louise came over and asked if they were going to Sunday School. She politely declined, but Louise invited her for a cup of coffee. “You don’t have to stay. Just come for a minute and have some coffee. You can leave before it starts.” If you knew Louise and her hospitable ways at all, you know she didn’t take no for an answer. Her goal was to make everyone feel welcome…always. It worked. The couple found a place they feel cared for…where they belong. All because of an invitation… for coffee… from Louise.
Because of that gesture of love, when the sign- up sheet was passed in Sunday School for jobs for Louise’s memorial service, this woman was not surprised at the one slot left. Making the coffee. She put her name in the slot that seemed to have been held just for her. When the day arrived, she joyfully made the coffee for all those who came to honor Louise, knowing that coffee can make all the difference when offered with a smile.