If you know me, you know that I love pineapples. They are probably my favorite fruit. Especially now.
They are used for all kinds of health benefits including immune system support, bone strength, eye health, healthy digestion, anti-inflammatory benefits, blood clot reduction, reduces the risk of a common cold and sinuses, and I’m sure many more. These are just what I found in my research. It has also been proven to induce labor. I can actually attest to this one myself as I ate quite a bit of pineapple the night before my water broke and I went into labor with my daughter!
But they are not just my favorite fruit because of all these awesome health benefits, but because it is actually the international symbol for hospitality.
The word pineapple was derived from a Spanish word used to refer to a pinecone in 1398, so it actually had nothing to do with the fruit until about 300 years later when the word became exclusively used for the fruit. The fruit obviously needs a tropical climate to flourish. Hawaii is the only U.S. state in which pineapples are still grown. Of course other countries grow pineapples, but as for the U.S., Hawaii is about it! (Research from LiveScience)
Hospitality is a theme that God has literally thrown in my face over the past few months, something He’s desperately working on my heart.
I fear for those in ministry that we’ve become accustomed to Christians and Christians only. It’s like we’re waiting for the world to come knocking on our church doors. And as we know, that’s not the case. We have to go to them.
When Paul was saved on the Road to Damascus, he wasn’t the least bit concerned for Jesus, or even looking for him for that matter. He had just left the stoning of the martyr Stephen! No way was Jesus even on his mind. But that’s exactly where Jesus met him. The woman at the well, she went looking for water but left with living water. She wasn’t out looking for Jesus. He was already there waiting for her.
As Christians, we need to move past this mentality of staying in our little “Christian bubbles” where we meet with and host only those that think like us, look like us, worship like us, live like us, etc. When Jesus met me where I was eight and a half years ago, I looked nothing like Jesus nor was I looking for Him.
These were the people Jesus met with: Pharisees, fisherman, tax collectors, the deformed, the sick, the adulterers, the homeless, the refugees, the wanderers, the possessed, and even the unclean. (Jen Schmidt) How about you? Would you welcome this group into your home? Would you send them an invite?
Back to the pineapple. The pineapple was a symbol of royal privilege back in the day (don’t you love that phrase?!). It would only be used as a centerpiece placed above the desserts because it was hefty price just to rent it for the day for whatever gathering was being held!
“The more affluent clients of the bake shop would actually be sold the same rented fruit to carve and share with their guests. Any guest who was invited to a party where a whole pineapple was displayed, knew that no expense was spared in guaranteeing the guests’ enjoyment. It was this that made the crowned fruit the high symbol of social events and became the meaning of welcome, friendship, and hospitality.” (The Story of the Pineapple)
Native Americans would place a pineapple outside of their door when they were welcoming guests. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but even outside of some hotels there will be a pineapple carved on a sign outside of the hotel.
Hospitality has become a lost art in our society. And sadly, a lost art among Christians.
“Who is missing at my table? Am I willing to enlarge the boundaries of my heart to allow the core of the gospel living to include anyone and everyone? Does my table look like Jesus’ table, set for all who are hungry and in need?” (Jen Schmidt)
Romans 12:13 tell us to pursue hospitality. It’s a pursuit. Is hospitality something that you’re pursuing?
So when you see a pineapple displayed, come on in!