As I vacuumed the stairs in preparation for our dinner and study last Sunday evening I felt my selfishness flare up. Just to be clear, I don’t do the stairs every week, but I had been dodging it for a couple of weeks and I was beginning to see cracker crumbs every few steps. We feel called to plant a church, we love people, and we were excited to have everyone over; but I was honestly whipped. As crumbs were sucked into the vacuum hose hospitality was a drain not a joy.
Both lists for the qualifications of Elders (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) list hospitality as a qualification for leadership in the church. Titus contrasts hospitality with greediness because much of hospitality is simply sharing our stuff. But this is the faith issue isn’t it? Do we really believe sharing and being hospitable will bring us joy?
I wish in my selfish moment I had remembered how the Father shared his Son (John 3:16). I wish in my selfish moment I could say I was treasuring people over my own stuff (Matthew 6:19-21). I wish I could report that as crumbs were being sucked up the vacuum hose that I was filled with faith that my little good work would bring me joy.
Nope, none of that hit me till the end of the evening. At the end of our time I was filled with joy at the evening. It was such a blessing to see new faces, spend time with good friends, apply the gospel to my little areas of unbelief, and have encouraging and challenging conversations with friends over a great meal. At the end of our evening and the last guest left and I had a moment to reflect, I realized how much joy hospitality had brought my soul!
The early Christians were great hosts and hostesses. The early church was built around the table of people eating together and sharing together and conversing together and simply being together. Hospitality might mean some inconvenience, but it will also fill your soul.
Take time over the next couple of weeks and invite a friend over for dinner. Think about the new guy in your church and have him over to get to know him better. Put it in your family budget to have a family over for dinner every couple of weeks. Redeemer Church will have an eternal impact in Denton as our folks find joy in hospitality.