Saturday, 8 March 2014

Intentionally focused...on ministry, hospitality and PUTTING OTHERS FIRST

Peter says (The Message, 1 Peter 4:1 - 2) "Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings* as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want."
aka my struggles, difficulties, little problems, inconveniences...

So: "take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit..." (vv 7 - 11)

Baroness Cox wrote this week: "While we might like to think that generosity is largely about what gets given from our own hands, the truth is different. Generous people understand that giving is inseparably linked to receiving, that we can only begin to be used by God to meet another’s need because we have begun to allow Him to meet our own."
Romans 12:3 puts it like this: "it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."

Proverbs 31 extols the virtues of the Good Woman.
"When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:"
Hmm.  I ALWAYS feel incompetent and all the other in- and un- words which tell me that I don't measure up, can never measure up to this Impossibly Perfect Woman.
I CAN do what I can with what I have. I might never, will not ever, achieve her perfection, but I can aspire to be more like her. Also, I am comforted when I think that, perhaps, this is also a picture of the church. Because, together, we CAN achieve all this and more.
"So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t." (Romans 12:4 - 6)
Good Morning girls postedWe aren’t aiming for perfection here but rather a heart of serving and loving those who enter our homes. I’m sure it’s not an accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word meaning healing. When we open our homes and hearts to those who are hurting, God uses our act of service to begin healing hurting souls.

Who can you open your home to today? What about the single mom down the street who is needing adult conversations and for someone to look her in the eyes and ask, “How are you really doing?”, or what about the widow whose husband recently passed away from your church? Maybe it’s the co-worker who needs to hear that they matter to God...

You see I think as Christians we have bought into this big lie that satan is selling us. (and yes, I have purposely typed a lowercase “s”) We think God only wants us to do BIG things for Him. That only the BIG things count. Big things like becoming missionaries and moving overseas, adopting 100 children, selling all our belongings or going into full time Christian ministry. You know, the BIG things.

But what if He’s not telling many of us to do those things? What if that isn’t His plan for many of our lives? What if His plan is even better than that?

What if His plan is actually to multiply our reach by each of us individually becoming intentional and purposefully, using the homes He has already blessed us with to reach those people He has sent us… by opening our doors and hearts to them?

What if we are just called to help those who are lonely feel welcomed by offering a simple meal and an open seat at a well-worn kitchen table?

God is amazing like that, you know. When we reach out to bless others, to open our doors and place an extra plate at the table, many times we end up being the one who is blessed.

So what if? What if we dream together and think about the possibilities of change God can do in our homes as we embrace our call to be hospitable? What if we push aside the temptations of perfection, the unrealistic expectations and instead offer real homes, simple meals and loving hearts? How can God move through these simple acts of obedience?

And so: "Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality."

I've heard it said that hospitality is not about homes and hearty dining, food and feasting - though it can be. No, hospitality is about inviting others into your heart and blessing them with what you have. It is about adaptable attitudes, selfless serving and generous giving.

Is that really so hard to do? Take the first step - TODAY.

No comments:

Post a Comment