Be Given to Hospitality
By Jeff Klick
Romans 12:9-13 - "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need."
1 Peter 4:8-10 - "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
Practice hospitality. If you have been wanting to have people over to your home, you know that it takes practice. Getting by that uncomfortable feeling at the start, trying to figure out what to feed them, what will we do all night? It really does take practice! But as the old saying goes, "practice makes perfect." Perfect in the Bible usually means maturity. As you step out in faith to show yourself hospitable, I guarantee - you will mature!
Part of the vision I have for this church is to have relationships within the Body. People who just attend a church and never become related to anyone can easily drift away. We all need friends. We all need people who will be there during the bad times, and during the good times.
The writer of Ecclesiasties said it well, "though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Ecc. 4.12). We need each other. Our love for our Lord is only as strong as our love for one another.
If you have been attending Hope for any time at all you have heard me say that, "the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another." It's how we get along with each other that will make a difference, not our preaching, tracts, T-shirts or bumper stickers. But whether we really can love each other!
Having people in our homes produces lasting fruit. Our children can have additional role models that reinforce what we teach them. They won't feel like we're the only ones, or maybe your not the strictest parents in the world after all. Interaction with others broadens our little world. We have to learn to accept each other with all of our faults.
Relationships build character. Think of how boring life would be if we were all alike. The differences are what make life interesting. If two were exactly alike, one would not be needed. By interacting with each other, we are given many opportunities to extend grace and mercy. To give each other some room to be different. To give each other the grace we want everyone to give us! It's only after we get past the surface relationships that we can truly start to grow together. The only way I have ever found to get past the surface is to spend time together.
The real church life is not what we do on Sunday morning, but what happens during the week. I would challenge you to step out and show yourself friendly to others. Take that first step and invite someone to your home. Practice hospitality. It will get easier and better as you practice. Try it for one year. If you don't agree with me after that time that you and your family have grown, I will take you and your family out to lunch at the restaurant of your choice!
When times get tough, it's the relationships that will see you through. I've never met a lonely, depressed person who was given to hospitality. I've met many who were not! It's hard to be down in the dumps when you are trying to figure out how to bless others.
Show yourself friendly and you will have friends! Use the gifts God has given to you by blessing others. Catch the vision for relationships and step out and take a chance on meeting someone new this week!