As I’m waiting to welcome our next guests, I reflect on their need for refreshment and wonder if I will be able to meet (or even exceed!) all their expectations whilst they are staying with us. Often I don’t know their back story, the reason why they have chosen to stay in a particular place or at a particular time, but I do know that the welcome they receive when they arrive at their destination will set the tone for the rest of their holiday.
Visitors often arrive exhausted and sometimes frustrated from a delayed journey, so a cream tea is often the best gift I can offer to satisfy the immediate need for a sugar boost! However, the Oxford dictionary definition makes it clear that, apart from satisfying our physical needs of food and drink, refreshment is also a giving of fresh strength and energy. Other words associated with refreshment include restoration, rejuvenation and spiritual refreshment. Tavistock and its surrounding villages offer all of us the opportunity for refreshment in its widest sense. We are so fortunate to have been placed in this area to live and work. Sometimes it is through the eyes and revelations of visitors that we are reminded of God’s glory. Living as we do with the beauty and majesty of the landscape constantly around us, we can become complacent and forget momentarily how awesome it is to be part of West Devon and Dartmoor.
We all need to set aside time for refreshment even when we live here! I imagined that by the time I got to be of a certain age I would be fully in control of my time. I hoped to be able to manage it so that I would never feel exhausted, weary and left reeling round and round. Instead I often expect my body to work as it did when I was only 35! But isn’t it encouraging to know that even when we have nothing more to give to others physically and emotionally, God never tires of us, and He gives me the strength when I need that last push. I can turn to my Bible and find the following to lift my spirits:
Psalm 62:1: For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Jeremiah 31:25: I will satisfy the weary and all who are faint I will replenish.
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
As we encounter visitors this summer, we might do well to let something of their passion for our town and villages remind us of our love for where God has placed us to work in His Kingdom, and may we bring encouragement to all those seeking refreshment in this special place.
Love and Blessings,