How is Your Welcome Mat Looking?
Last week, my wife let me in on her personal devotions for the day. She had been meditating on Romans 12:13 which says “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
It is was convicting for both of us. Do we “seek” to show hospitality? We give our tithe and put a few dollars in the offering every service and we have people over for coffee and Bible study once in a while. And those are good things, but do we actively seek out people, other than close friends and family, and invite them in?
“Contribute to the needs of the saints”…what do you think that means? It means giving things away, like money, time, clothing, and food, for the sake of others in need. But Paul doesn’t stop at giving things away, he goes on and increases the demand on us, stretching us further, he says, “seek to show hospitality.” It is not only about giving things away, it is about drawing others in, not just for soup and buns between church services once in a while, but opening your hearts and your homes. We are to seek to do it without grumbling, and out of a heart of love.
That means our relationships with one another are to be deep and rich, as we lavishly pour out love on each other with a servant’s heart. How often do we say things like:
“Let me rejoice with you when things are going well. Come over to my house and celebrate!” “Let me care about your marriage. I care about your struggles. Let’s grab a coffee and talk about those things.” “I care about how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally and financially. Come over to my house and we can chat. Have some of my good wine. Sit in my good chair and tell me about your fears. What are your struggles?” “I care that you lost your job, I care that your kids are impossible, I care that your wife left, I care. Tell me when things aren’t going well so I can help how and where I can.”
If you need a couch to crash on….
let me give you my shirt…
let me wash the dust off your feet…
That is the biblical idea of hospitality, yet we tend to be of the mind that asks, “What’s in it for me?” or “What if …?” We are so often stifled in our hospitality by fear and greed. How many of us don’t ask people over because our home is “too messy?” I’ll admit it…but is that a valid reason? No. That is real life. Invite people in anyway, who cares about dishes in the sink and cheerios in the rug and toys on the floor? People matter. The mess doesn’t.
My wife sent me this quote from John Piper that really hit home:
Lavish giving and open homes are close to the centre of life in Christ. The reasons we don’t open our chequebooks and homes as often as we should are rooted in the bondage of fear and greed. The remedy is the pleasure of Christ’s presence and the certainty of Christ’s promise. My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Our reward is the display of God’s glory, the good of others, and the joy of treasuring Christ together forever. Therefore I exhort you, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
Seeking to show hospitality is fundamental to being a Christian. As Christians we should all have well-worn welcome mats outside our front doors, from the streams of people coming and going. Ours is not nearly worn enough. How is your welcome mat looking?