Invitation to Christ’s hospitality
“My lord,if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. (V.3,4)
In Abraham’s day, a person’s reputation was largely connected to his hospitality – the sharing of home and food. Even strangers were to be treated as highly honored guests. With typical Middle Eastern hospitality, Abraham and Sarah welcomed the angels unaware of who they were. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Heb 13:2)
Do you think that Abraham knew who these people were? No, of course not. So, Abraham took the risk to welcome the strangers, and he treats them like royalty. Paul says in Romans 12: 3 - Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. v10: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. v13: Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Jesus gives us the perfect example by washing the feet of the disciples in John 13:1-17. If even he, God in the flesh is willing to serve, we his followers must also be servants, willing to serve in any way that glorifies God. Jesus did not wash his disciples’ feet just to get them to be nice to each other. His far greater goal was to extend his mission on earth after he was gone.
This passage has to do with you and the way God has treated you. You see, hospitality is what God has shown us by accepting us into his fellowship through his Son, even when we were strangers and enemies, and hostile to him. Hospitality tells me that God no longer calls me a stranger, but called me a friend. Hospitality is an act of grace, an unworthy favor that I have received from God, and in return, I must share it with others in the same measure.
What does the ministry of hospitality look like in our congregations and in our worship services? When people who are strangers to the church and come to worship, seeking the grace of God and gracious people, What we do to welcome them? Hospitable acts like someone shaking your hand at the door, acknowledging your presence, make a difference in people’s sense of welcome and belonging. Hospitality often makes the difference in wanting to return to a place you’ve never been before.
But at the same time to be a welcoming church is to have a deep and rich understanding of welcome. It goes beyond shaking someone's hand. It means immediately realizing that our church is made better when we allow the backgrounds of other faithful believers to help shape everything we're about as a church.
Prayer: Lord we are thankful for the grace that you have showed us even when are unworthy. Help us to extend this grace and hospitality to our fellow believers so your name may always be glorified....Amen
Thought for the day:“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”(Lk.6:36)
Chris Thomas, St. Johns MTC, NY