From the moment you step foot into a Ritz Carlton, you will undoubtedly feel like royalty. They’re known for going above and beyond hosting their guests. One of their hotels made headlines in 2012 for truly leaving an impact on Ainsley, a five-year-old girl.
After vacationing at the resort, her family had accidentally left behind Elmo, her beloved stuffed animal. By the time they realized it, they were too far away to go back. Ainsley was heartbroken. But a quick phone call later, and they were assured Elmo would be returned, no questions asked.
A few days later, Ainsley received a package in the mail. Elmo was carefully packaged in a plush box. Alongside him, she was surprised to find a photo album. When she opened it she saw that Elmo was “never lost.” He had merely “extended his vacation!” In fact, the little red guy was pictured in the spa, working out in the fitness center, lounging at the beach, even cooking with the hotel chef!
News stations got wind of their hospitality, and the story went viral.
Was it necessary? No. Most hotels would have sent their condolences and thrown the stuffed animal away. But the Ritz-Carlton is not most hotels. They pride themselves on serving, and people keep coming back! They work harder, stay longer and sacrifice more. And they are repeatedly ranked among the best hotels in the world.
They don’t get it right every time, but the goal for them has never been perfection. Rather, upholding a standard of excellence that makes their guests feel valued.
As believers, we have the opportunity to host the most important guest in the universe, the Holy Spirit. Do our lives reflect His importance to us? When we encounter His gentle convictions do we disregard them, throw them away as unimportant? Or do we pick them up and choose to see them as an opportunity to build ourselves into better vessels for the kingdom?
When we truly encounter the Holy Spirit we will want to strive for that same set-apartness. Matthew 7:12-14 says,
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (NKJV).
The path may be narrow and sometimes difficult to maneuver, but it’s clear-cut and full of fulfillment and adventure. The standard we live by is not to limit us, but to allow us to live out our God-given purposes! It may be uncommon, but things of true value typically are. There is great luxury that comes in walking in truth, and once you experience the real-deal, it’s near impossible to settle for anything less. Just ask Elmo!