- “We are just too busy.”
- “Our house is a mess.”
- “We can’t afford it.”
- “They could be serial killers.”
- “It would be too awkward.”
This list barely touches the surface of thoughts and words our family used to excuse ourselves from opening our home in an act of hospitality. But God, in His great grace and mercy, did not allow us to remain in our sin. He provided us with the body of Christ—the church—to equip and encourage us to take the first step.
Here’s what we’ve learned over the past two years:
- God is greatly to be praised. God is worthy and deserving of every ounce of time, money and energy spent on introducing others to Him. Hospitality costs something, but there is no greater joy than serving our Lord.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3)
- God pursued us. We were once regarded as strangers and aliens, and through the greatest act of hospitality mankind has ever known, we were brought near.
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)
- God is faithful. God demonstrates Himself to be faithful time and again. We pray before our neighbors walk through our front door, we pray silently through our conversations, and we pray for them as they leave. We pray for more opportunities when we arise and when we close our eyes each evening. We plead that our strangers-turned-friends will come to know our risen Savior.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
- God uses the foolish (i.e., us). God uses ordinary, willing people for his extraordinary purposes. We aren’t [both] extroverts. We don’t have a large, elaborate home. We don’t have an unlimited budget. We aren’t expert apologists. Yet, in God’s grace, He uses us.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
After filling the bellies of many strangers-turned-friends, the tune we once sang sounds more like this:
- “We make time for what is most important to us.”
- “Our house is still a mess (nobody cares).”
- “We spend our money on that which is of most value.”
- “They aren’t serial killers. They are image-bearers.”
- “Heaven and hell are at stake—that’s anything but awkward.”
Brothers and sisters, as you recall to mind our Savior Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, pray fervently, pick up a frozen lasagna, extend an invitation and take the first step of inviting a stranger (perhaps soon to be friend?) into your home for His name and His renown. Our Lord is Risen, and this truth changes every last tune of our lives.