This past month Courtney's parents, my dad, and my brother and sister-in-law have all visited my home. We welcomed them in and cared for them. We worked hard and sacrificed some of our own comforts so their stay could be as pleasant as possible. I write this to make a point, and it's not to give Courtney a pat on the back for being such a great hostess. I noticed something with their visits that I had not considered much before.
We were hospitable and pursued excellence in the care we gave, but we didn't follow any etiquette. There was no special "code" for them to follow or social norms to adhere to. We didn't treat them like customers entering into our store. They didn't sense a "professionalism" in our relationship. They were free to be in their pajamas and leave their hair uncombed while lounging around in our living room. They enjoyed their stay because they felt welcomed.
As I reflect back on my first Christmas Eve at Grace Community Church and the last 7 months here in Kansas, I am overwhelmed by the kindness of the Lord. Courtney, the kids, and I have been abundantly loved and cared for, and I can honestly say that serving as a pastor here has been a great joy and by no means a burden. I often feel inadequate and humbled by the responsibility, but I have never felt unloved. Thank you, Grace Community Church, for your hospitality and encouragement toward me. You are a true blessing and gift to our family.
With this great experience, I wonder if everybody who has encountered Grace feels the same way. Can you say with confidence that every guest and member has had a similar experience? Have they all been treated as wonderfully as I have been? If not, then join me! We have a great goal ahead of us. Let's all be a true blessing and gift to those around us. Let's show this same hospitality to our neighbors and those who step foot in our building.
Hospitality is important to God, and it should always be important to us. God uses it to change people's hearts. Please join me as I commit to sharing what has been shared with me. Our hospitality may be the very thing God uses to welcome a stranger into His family.
(If you want an overview of Scripture passages on hospitality, please check out this article.)