Thursday, September 02, 2010

Needy Hospitality

"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."  Romans 12:13

Share with God's people who are in need.  That sounds easy, doesn't it?  And yet, sometimes, in practicality, it's not quite that easy.   Often times, I think that when we hear about people in need- we get motivated to help, and to share, but first, we take our own inventory.  Let's say someone is in need of food.  Okay, we have food in the house, we can share.  But as we go through our shelves, our pantry and our freezer, we make sure that we still leave an ample supply for us here at home.  We make sure that we leave a few weeks worth of food in our storage spaces, and we give someone who is genuinely in need of food, the things that we don't favor as much.  Why do we do that?  Instead, we should be more generous and understanding.  If someone comes to me and says that they have no food in the house, I should do one of two things. 

One, I should empty my shelves and my fridge and freezer of fresh, unopened food.  I should give them as much as I can- because I have a God who supplies ALL my needs, and He will see what I am doing, and will replenish my stores when it is needed.  Or two, we should take this person and take them to the grocery store and fill up a grocery cart or two.  Or maybe just go grocery shopping and then surprise them with a trunk-load of groceries.   Both options are difficult for us to do sometimes.  We don't empty our own shelves and cupboards because that is security- that is food for the family should we need it.  And we don't go fill up grocery carts to give to someone else because that's an expensive venture these days.  A truly full grocery cart of just the basics will run around $120 dollars- depending on how much meat is in it.  I pray often that God will help us to see the need around us, and to provide the means so that we can help meet those needs.

I really believe that when the Bible tells us to share with those in need, it's telling us to share selflessly.  It's to share with love, to give more than it seems we can at the time.  And I also truly believe that when we do that, God sees that, and He will take care of us if the time would come to be the one in need.  Love does that.

But you know, there's a second part to this verse.  It also says to practice hospitality.  Ah, hospitality.  Welcoming guests into your home and making them feel right at home.  I honestly think that when Andy and I do practice hospitality, we do it well.  We love the actual act of having guests in our home for a meal and fellowship.  But you know, often times, we need to be prodded to actually offer the hospitality in the first place.  It is just so easy to get caught up in the every-day business of life, and not want to call someone up and invite them over for a meal.  It's also too easy to be jealous of our family time, and to not want to share what little time we have together with someone else.  I'll be honest here.  When we moved to this new community, one of the big reasons we wanted to was so that we could take advantage of the opportunity to fellowship more often.  But now that we're here, now that we've been here, we've only done that a small handful of times. 

It is a good reminder this morning to open up my Bible and see the words "Practice Hospitality" because it's a good reminder that we haven't been doing that.  And we need to.  More than that though, we want to.  We want to get to know people better and to show love to one another by welcoming friends into our homes and treating them like kings.  But maybe we've just been too caught up in busy-ness to remember that we do want to do that.  It's a new month here, and as I look up at our calendar, I see all kinds of empty space just begging to be filled with opportunities for hospitality.  May God keep that in our minds and bring people to mind to share hospitality with.

Such a simple verse this morning, with so much to say to us.  May we be mindful enough to share with those who are in need, and practice hospitality more often.

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