All of us love to be the guest of someone who has received us into their home and is treating us like family. We delight in delicious food, friendly conversation and the joy of knowing and being known by others.
Throughout history being received as someone’s guest, being treated as part of their family, was often a life-saving measure. Before the days of grocery stores, restaurants and hotels, the hospitality of others was your only hope of survival if you were a traveler to a city that was not your own.
This summer we, as a church, want to spend time thinking about hospitality and how to grow in it. The best way to begin is to think about God’s hospitality towards us.
The hospitality of the Triune God far surpasses all others. God shared the rich fellowship of the Trinity with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He set the table with boundless beauty and delightful food that accompanied the most wonderful Host ever. His presence in the Garden with them was the most wonderful gift. He welcomed Adam and Eve and made them His family.
Even after the fall, God continued welcoming strangers and enemies and treating them as His family. He set the table for Israel by making them His family, giving them a bountiful land and protecting them. He welcomed them as His family and lived with them in the tabernacle and later the temple. He took a people who were strangers and aliens and welcomed them into his land of promise.
And then came the most wonderful act of hospitality: God welcomed all the nations into His family through Christ! He takes people who were strangers and enemies and makes them His household. He takes those who hated Him and were far from Him and makes them His friends and family. How did He do this? He sent His only Son, the One who has always been in His family along with the Spirit, to die in our place. He shed His own blood to make us His family, to provide for us the blessings of being sons and daughters and living with Him! He takes those whose hearts were cold and dead and twisted inward and gives birth to a new heart where He dwells by His Spirit. Now we look forward to the day when He will make all the earth new again; when all those who have trusted in Jesus will dwell with Him forever as His family, enjoying without sin all of the bounty of life with God as His people on His earth!
So what does this mean for us? As we strive to welcome others and treat them like family, we get the honor of imitating the hospitality of our heavenly Father. God says to us, “Come to the table”, be part of my family, and we get to extend that same hospitality to others. We get to be sons and daughters of our Father by welcoming others as family, both those in the church and those in the world. May we be used by God, through our hospitality, to extend His hospitality, so that others will be welcomed into His family.
This summer we want to grow together as a church in being a people who love others as God has loved us. Here are a few resources that we want to recommend for you:
May God make us a people who welcome and love others as part of our family in the way that God has loved us and welcomed us into His family!