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Devotional: October 21, 2020

Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible. They’ve made a full report back to the church here, a message about your love. It’s good work you’re doing, helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God himself! They set out under the banner of the Name, and get no help from unbelievers. So they deserve any support we can give them. In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the Truth.

         Third John 1: 5-8         The Message

We often underestimate the importance of hospitality. Yet here, John makes it clear that hospitality is not just a gift to those who receive it. In truth, hospitality is a ministry. To offer food and drink, or a night’s lodging to someone may seem insignificant, compared to all that is going on in the world, but it is not. John even states that those who provide meals and a bed are companions in spreading the Gospel. Who would have thought that hospitality was that important? 

One of the more painful sacrifices we have had to make this year is to give up fellowship. Our church fellowship time is a vital part of our church’s ministry. As humans, we are wired to enjoy and grow from fellowship with others. Although I understand the necessity of following this rule from a health standpoint, I and many others, have missed our regular fellowship together. For some, it is the only time in the week where they have the opportunity to visit with other people. 

Eventually, things will return to normal, (or at least more normal), and we will be able to resume fellowship with one another. My prayer is that in the meantime, we all can continue to figure out clever ways to interact with others. 

Jesus Himself talked about the importance of hospitality. He saw offering a drink of water to a stranger as very significant, even stating, “Whoever offers a drink of water to one of these least of these my brothers and sisters, and does so in my name, welcomes me.”  (My paraphrase from the end of Matthew Chapter 25)

Most of us can probably remember whether or not we were made to feel welcome when we went somewhere for the very first time. Whether it was a restaurant, a church, a small group, how did you feel? Were you greeted as an intruder, or as a new friend?  Were you seen as a nuisance, or a blessing? The welcome, or lack thereof, probably weighed heavily upon our minds when we made a decision on whether or not to return.

Hospitality does not need to be a huge meal, or an overnight stay in your home. It is the way you treat people. By offering a warm greeting in a world which often turns a cold shoulder, we let the light of Christ’s love shine through us, for all the world to see! We may not be a Motel 6 or a Ritz Carlton, but we can actually provide even more valuable than those places. We can offer genuine caring through our visible faith. We all can have an opportunity to have a five-star rating in the Lord’s eyes! A glass of water can be an open door to shed light on the love that Jesus offers to all. 

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, that You have opened the door of life to us. May we be a door, a window, or at least some kind of light to others, so they might see You. Help us to seize the moments and opportunities You put before us. Give us the strength and courage to be good stewards of Your word. Thank you, Lord, for that person who showed us the door into Your light. We pray this prayer in Your Holy name. Amen


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