Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thoughts on hospitality

Thoughts on Hospitality  

Mother Teresa said that Jesus travels the world in distressing disguises and that when you minister to people and welcome them you minister directly to him and welcome him.

The book of Hebrews tells us that followers of Jesus should provide hospitality because by so doing, many have entertained angels “unawares.”  

If people come to our worship services and don’t feel welcomed, no matter how good the music or the sermon or the programming or the class, they won’t be back. 

Hospitality is huge in Christian life.  But I don’t think we’re very good at it.  I think we’d all prefer to keep to ourselves.  Bringing in other people is always risky.   

The Apostle Paul, in Romans 12:13, commands the followers of Jesus to “practice hospitality.”  Besides welcoming people to our church, how do we, as modern day followers of Jesus practice hospitality?

Pastor Tina and her husband Mark opened their home to a young lady in recovery who desperately needed a home and parents.  This is a hug risk, of course, but Jesus calls us to come and die to ourselves and to our fears and trust him in radical acts of love.  Some of which are as simple as opening up our homes. 

Hospitality gives us the opportunity to surprise people.  People don't expect to be invited in.  When we invite them into our lives and homes it pays them an honor, it shows them we love and care for them.  

Zion recently opened up the entire church facility to about 50 people who had a fire in their apartment building.  They were supposed to stay with us for 3 or 4 days max.  It turned into weeks.   While we had to make some changes around the church, it gave us all the opportunity to serve Jesus in this special way.  

I received a great gift of hospitality this summer.  Friends of ours took my wife and kids to the beach for a couple of days and left me  alone in their house with nothing to do but sit and pray and read my Bible.  Even the simple act of letting someone use what we’re not using can be a blessing and an encouragement.  

What am I saying?  Simply this.  As Christian we often tell people we love them.  But when we invite them in, open our homes, give them our food to eat, when we sit with them and listen to them and open all that we have to them, then, those words, “I love you,” mean something.  

It’s one thing to open our homes to those we know and love already.  But it’s a higher calling to open our homes, our lives, our church to those whom we don’t know yet, but who, through us, might encounter Jesus face to face.  

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