Practice Hospitality

hospitalityLightHouse Devotional March 16th, 2018

Romans 12:13
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

One of the things I love about being American, and being part of life in the Land Worth Living here in Gloucester, is that we are a very generous people.  We collectively come together in crisis, whether it be after a national tragedy like 9-11 or a local one like the tornado that ripped Gloucester in half.

The size of the piles of stuff donated to help people recover was staggering, and the number of people who showed up, just to be put to work because they wanted to “do something,” is inspiring.

However, God asks us to go deeper than simply giving “stuff” and money; He wants us to willingly give of our hearts and extend our resources to strangers. Why? Maybe because when we do we look most like Him, who freely gives us redemption, freedom in Him, and meets all our needs.

When we moved to Gloucester, God far exceeded our needs by allowing us to buy a home that had a separate “mother-in-law” suite in it. I thanked God and promised in my heart to use it for His purposes. He has brought us a mother with four young children previously living in one room, a family of four who were living in a tent when their landlord died, a battered woman who needed to escape her husband, missionaries traveling through Gloucester, several homeless at different times, a very distraught young mother with her baby that I found on the street so disoriented she had no idea where she was, and many more.

We “knew” none of these people, but God used us in His timing to be a blessing to others. Was it a little scary? Yes, sometimes it was. Did I have “buy-in” from the other members of my household? Not always. By the world’s standards it may have seemed a little crazy, but I trusted God and knew that, no matter the outcome, nothing would happen that He didn’t know about first.

It isn’t necessary to have an excess of “space” or “things” to practice hospitality; we simply need a generous heart. This is easy when we operate from the premises that all we have is His, and we once were strangers, yet He took us in.

I thank God for the song I was taught as a child in St. Philip’s elementary school based on Matthew 25:35-40 that went something like this: ‘When I was hungry you gave me to eat. When I was thirsty you gave me to drink. Now enter into the home of my Father. Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.’

If you don’t know where to start, begin with prayer. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and your heart to who He sends you. They may not be a brother or sister in the Lord, and that is okay.   In fact, I love these opportunities, because we may be the face, hands, and feet of Jesus in a fresh and inviting way. If you don’t believe you have anything to give, just start with a willing heart and a smile. Be a good listener and ask God what the need is. He will meet and exceed your expectations of Him every time!

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