Spent the second week of March in Boston serving local church plants with college students.
Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever been the new person? I remember in 2005 I spent the summer in L.A. I was doing inner city ministry with CRU with 20 something other college students. I didn’t know anyone. Like no one. I remember being brave and applying to spend my summer there, but when I arrived I was nervous. Mainly because I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t really know what I was going to do there. That summer God taught me so much through inner city ministry. I learned about God’s heart for the poor and that each and every one of them had a story. A story that God cared about. I remember standing on skid row that summer. Surrounded by thousands of homeless when my friend Crystal and I started talking to one of the men near us. We wanted to share about Jesus and give him some granola bars we had with us. We stood and listened to his story and how he got to where he is now. It wasn’t like I assumed. It was hard and it wasn’t anything I could relate to. But I remember thinking I really wanted to take the time to understand everyones story! What an incredible opportunity we have to KNOW others and point them toward Jesus. Let’s take time to show hospitality to someone around us today. We don’t have to have everything in order or perfectly cleaned up. Invite someone out for coffee or over to your house just because.
Isn’t that true hospitality? Putting yourself in their place, loving them for who they are, and inviting them into the safe place of friendship. Jesus modeled it for us in the Bible, let’s model it for others and invite them into our lives.
I always envisioned hospitality as more of “hosting.” I love parties and people and eating and doing life together. The scripture we read today was Romans 15:1-7. Verse 7 says “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” In today’s blog post we learn that the greek word for hospitality means “brotherly love for strangers” and that really stuck with me.
God’s original design for hospitality is extending ourselves in love to strangers.
Who am I reaching out to? Who can I invite over? Take a meal to? My house doesn’t have to be in order, I don’t have to have a plan or have gone to the grocery store. I just have to be open. Be open with my house, be open with my time, be open with all my things. God has provided me with so much and sharing what He’s given me with others is the hospitality that Jesus would want me to show to others.
Recently we had a sermon on loving our neighbors at church. (listed below) Do you know your neighbors? Your co-workers or classmates? How can we show hospitality to them?