PURSUE IT? SERIOUSLY?
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13
Get ready. The picture here is one who pursues the opportunity to show hospitality. I can too easily be passive, waiting for the need to arise and land at my front door. I’ll wait to be asked.
Outgoing people can throw a great party and love having a crowd in their home. But that doesn’t mean that they are exuding the love and presence of the Spirit. Their reasons for having people in their home can be as carnal as the reasons someone who is shy doesn’t think they can do it or do it well.
What does it look like for a child of God to pursue hospitality? I must know the goal. It’s showing the love of God in simple ways and that involves so much more than providing a meal or giving someone a place to sleep for the night. Those are just the means to an end.
The way I receive someone at the door sets the tone for the encounter. Genuine warmth, a listening ear, a prayer offered at the right time, staying prayerful while they’re in my presence; these are the things which leave the aroma of Jesus and cause someone to know that their time in my home was somehow different. The meal I made and fussed over should not be the focus.
There are definitely those who have the spiritual gift of hospitality and those who don’t. But none are exempt. I shouldn’t believe that I need a large extravagant home, instead of a modest one, to show the love of Jesus to others. Recently, I stayed in a beautiful lakefront home but my beautiful room was beside the point. I shared a meal with a retired couple that loved Jesus deeply; knew how to listen, ask questions, and then jump into spiritual conversations that left you wishing you had many more hours to talk. At the end, we exchanged book titles, website addresses, even specific bible passages that we had referenced in our fellowship.
The point is: There is someone nearby who needs a touch from God. My husband, Ron, has a beautiful gift of helps/hospitality. Each time we drive down our street, we pass the home of an elderly woman who can hardly get out anymore. Her husband died a few years back and she is admittedly lonely. He will often say as we drive by, “Can you imagine how long the hours are as she sits, night after night, in that house by herself?” He has bleached the mildew off her home, maintains her car that she can’t drive anymore, and suggests times that we might bring her meals. Last week, he even surprised her on her birthday with her favorite Kentucky Fried Chicken meal.
Each of us can be hospitable and pursue opportunities. God will show us whether our ideas are His ideas. But I can love someone, with His hands, whether I live in a mansion or a cabin. What they remember won’t be the surroundings but how their heart felt when they sensed Jesus was in our conversation. Jesus made even introverts to be a people-persons. He will show us how and it will be a beautiful thing for each one of us and for the one who receives what God has led us to give.
Be the unseen, yet keenly felt, spiritual guest in whatever You lead me to do. Amen
Originally published Thursday, 06 December 2018.