It is nearly Thanksgiving…Usually one of the first shots at “family”. (Sometimes in more ways than one!) I want to be clear, as I “unpack” something. My childhood table did not always happen well. We had drunkenness, fights and even blood…So hear my heart. Jesus can “grow” you up.
I love people. It doesn’t matter whether they are friends, family or foes. I really do. (I drive my wife crazy sometimes. I am sure she can tell you how many hundreds have set at our table, slept in our beds, on our couches and more over 20 years. This year will be no different. And it probably is one of the major reasons I bemoan the loss of our home through no fault of ours. NO ROOM!)
Be hospitable to one another without complaint. What an awesome scripture! (1 Peter 4:8-11) Did you know the Greek word, hospitable, Paul used meant quite literally: Stranger-Loving; kind to strangers.
Can we start here. Are you a hospitable person? (Am I?) What about with people you do not like? You may not have to invite them into your home, but how do you treat them? How do you treat people at church? Really, how do you? Statistically, most people in any given church would say they are not treated well as far as feeling welcomed or connected! (Yes, our church gathering is different because we believe in honor, and perhaps better than others, but I believe we can be even better for our Lord’s glory!)
The scriptures continue on- As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Last week our gathering put on a “pot blessing” family meal. We do it monthly. My wife and another did the majority of the work but as needs came along there were people who pulled together. Like “real” ministry, if you do your job well, no one should know you are there, but be drawn to Christ. They did real well! People are starting to get it. To join us.
There are a lot of scriptures that deal with the idea and thoughts of hospitality. Matthew 25:34-43; Luke 10:30-37; Acts 4:32; Romans 12:13; 16:33; 1 Timothy 5:10; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:7-11; 3 John 1:5-8
People are still talking about the meal. We estimate that we had roughly 95 people who sat for the meal. I am excited because it means we are doing something well. Our culture of honoring one another is growing fruit (and food!).
During the holidays many will sit around tables unhappy with people that are family. Not me. I determined a long time ago, that I would employ hospitality and honor all the time. The cool thing about hospitality is not that the presentation is perfect (thought that helps-but I expect “hand” turkeys- the ones your kids made- rock a world or two!) or the silverware is set perfectly, but the atmosphere is “set perfectly.” I would rather folks around a table of pizza enjoying one another than a stressed out turkey gathering!
Here is a big thought…
Hospitality is a willingness to share, with discernment, what God has given us, including our family, home, finances, and food. It is an attitude of stewardship, where we do not own anything because we are merely the caretaker for the real owner, God. He desires that we share His stuff and His love, and we “comply” out of reverence and gratitude to Him. In relationships, it is honoring the boundaries of others, and sharing all we have without strings attached. In the church, it is to be welcoming, regardless how we may feel.
If we are to see our gatherings “grow”, reaching outwards, we must figure out honor and hospitality. Long before someone hears the message they have “got” the message. They know your culture, by how people respond in lines to be greeted or when asked to do a task.
Just a few thoughts!
(By the way I brought this up because of a couple of well-known Christians in our area who think it is okay to take your bad day out on others.)