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Friday, August 3, 2012

Faithful Friday: Hospitality

Sorry, no recipe this week... but I do have some thoughts and meditations to share!


This past Sunday, our Pastor preached a message in church about 3 John. I have a few favorite verses in this short book, such as "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."(3 John 4) I also like verses 5-8, which talk about showing love to others, even though they may be strangers. "We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth." (verse 8)

In my NIV Study Bible, there is a devotional message which goes along with 3 John 8, and here it is:
John is affirming his friend Gaius for Gaius' hospitality to these men who come to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ.


Hospitality is applauded and encouraged through out Scripture. Paul ties the practice of hospitality to the assistance of those in need (Romans 12:13) and tells Timothy to motivate leaders and widows to be more hospitable (1 Tim. 3:2, 5:10). Peter tells his listeners to practice hospitality "without grumbling" (1 Peter 4:9). 


True hospitality welcomes guests not only when it's planned or convenient to you, but also when it's hard or when you don't feel like you have it all together. True hospitality welcomes those people who need you, not just those you need. True hospitality welcomes those whose lifestyle or income or social graces may not be up to "par". True hospitality welcomes the messy youngster, the annoying teenager and the graceless adult. True hospitality is "being Jesus" to all those you meet."
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This reminded me of several things. I have a friend that I was close to when our children were younger, and her kids were older than mine. She was the picture of hospitality. Someone once said, "If you haven't been invited to C's house for lunch, then you probably will be soon." She constantly had friends to her home for lunch. A great time was always had there, and you left feeling loved. What a great picture of Christ! It saddens me that her family left our church and we are no longer close friends. But her example is with me and in my heart to this day.
Christ at Emmaus painting by Rembrandt, found here.

Also, I served as hospitality coordinator for our local MOPS group. I didn't feel extremely hospitable, but I did enjoy making things look nice and welcoming newcomers to our meetings. I enjoyed the experience and the friends that I made on the steering team that year.

It also reminds me of something that I saw on Twitter, of a church bulletin which welcomed outsiders. Here is what it said:  We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.


We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!
You can read the blog post here. I like the idea that our churches need to be more welcoming. How else will we bring the lost to Jesus if we don't welcome them in Jesus' name? Jesus ate with sinners, tax collectors, and harlots, and showed them His love. That is food for thought and a motivation to be hospitable for me, and I hope it is for you too.

Luke 9:48

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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