Jun5WedJune 5, 2019
As you’ve likely heard already, I believe that the Lord wants us to be growing in the ministry of hospitality this summer. In order to move in that direction, we’ve already taken time on Sunday mornings to emphasize the acts of hospitality in the book of Ruth. Additionally, a new 3-week Sunday School class started on June 2nd to listen to and discuss Rosaria Butterfield’s examples of ordinary hospitality as found in her new book entitled The Gospel Comes With A House Key. You are welcome to join the class on Sundays June 9th and June 16th at 9:30am in the classroom by the Sanctuary.
Rosaria emphasizes that her previous experience in the LGBTQ community taught her that sometimes the lost and lonely know more about ordinary hospitality than North American Christians. Since becoming a Christian, she challenges Christians to begin to think differently about where we eat, sleep and play.
Do any of these mindsets sound familiar to you?
THE CASTLE MINDSET: This attitude from 16th century Europe believes that a person’s house is their fortress. Within the four walls, they have the right and responsibility to keep the ‘riff-raff’ away and to live however they want – away from prying eyes. Strangers are potential threats.
THE SANCTUARY MINDSET: This modern attitude follows an almost Buddhist thought which believes that each person’s house ought to be a place of solace from the chaotic world. Therefore, it is important to decorate a home in such a way that allows a person to think, breathe and truly rest. Strangers are unwelcome interruptions.
THE VALUE MINDSET: This attitude is as ancient as home ownership. Such a person believes, whether consciously or subconsciously, that their worth is found in the size, quality and décor of their property. An expensive, well-kept house implies that its owner is truly important and probably very beneficial to society. An inexpensive, messy house implies that its owner is unimportant and probably useless to society. Strangers are only welcome if they match the projected ‘value’ of the homestead.
Do you find yourself drawn to any of these? I do from time to time!
But there is an even deeper attitude which undergirds them all. It’s the attitude which believes that a person’s house is “theirs.” However, the Bible teaches us something very different. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). “’Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine,’ declares the Lord” (Job 41:11b). “All things were created through Jesus and for Jesus” (Colossians 1:18b). Ultimately, God owns everything…including your dining room table. We are merely stewards.
Consider how it was that the Early Church was strengthen by the practice of ordinary hospitality as they established habits of breaking bread in their homes daily (Acts 2:46) and responding to needs by sharing and selling their possessions (Acts 4:32, 34). Many of these new believers recognized that homes and possessions are merely tools that can and should be used as a platform to proclaim the love of Jesus. Rosaria argues that Biblical hospitality is the greatest “untouched resource” that Christians need to rediscover in order to reach our secular neighbors for Christ.
Since Biblical hospitality is so counter-cultural, it may take time to create new habits. So let’s take small steps forward together. This month, I invite you to consider inviting two or three people within FMC (whom you don’t know very well) over to your home for a simple meal. Eat together and build a relationship. Start there.
Once you begin to open your table to fellow Christians and get a taste for this ordinary act, hospitality towards strangers may seem more attractive. Will you accept the challenge?