Open Arms

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This Sunday was a special Sunday for N&F, as we welcomed a bunch of new faces of incoming 6th graders into our family. It’s a fantastic concept to show genuine hospitality in situations like meeting and welcoming new people  into your group, but it may require stepping out of comfort zones for many of us. Showing hospitality is a great, but it may not come first nature for some of us, and for others, we may not highly prioritize this. What are some things we should keep in mind when showing genuine hospitality towards others?

Abraham, whom (who? whom? real talk, I never know…) God promised to bless the entire world through his lineage (which ultimately culminated in Jesus) - gives us some excellent tips in hospitality in Genesis 18. In this story, Abraham noticed that there were three men standing nearby his home, he “hurried” to meet them, and offered water to clean their feet, something to eat, and refreshment. In Genesis 18:6-8, we can read his hospitable heart:

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

One thing that stand out for me is how Abraham and his wife Sarah offered the best of the best for their guests. Not only did they stop what they were doing that particular day, and went to serious work for their company, they sacrificially gave their greatest. And it’s here we can find a quality tip in showing hospitality towards others, that we should go above and beyond (not bare minimum). Showing hospitality can have a real impact on someone, especially when we go above and beyond and give sacrificially. This is something that our culture, from my perspective, doesn’t value highly - but I have first hand experienced radical hospitality in other countries I have visited. Experiencing that above and beyond show of reception, made a powerful impact on me. We all have the power to make that kind of impact on those around us, the greater the sacrifice we’re willing to make for others, the great impact we can make. 

If you continue reading in Genesis 18:9-15, it becomes more and more apparent that these three men are not your average house guests - but it is actually the LORD (all capitals) and two angels - here is an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament. Abraham has the opportunity to host an incredible set of guests, and there is a deeper underlying tip of hospitality in this special circumstance: show hospitality as if you’re showing it to Jesus (because you are)! No, you may not actually be hosting or welcoming Jesus Himself, but when we show love to others and make them feel welcomed/special, we are doing it for Jesus. In Matthew 25:31-40, Jesus said that whatever you do for the least of these, you are doing for Him. When we offer food, clothing, and shelter to those who need it - we’re doing that for Jesus. When we show kindness, love, and hospitality to others - it’s as if we are doing it for the Lord, because we are showing others His love, and when we show others the love Jesus has for them, we are also showing Him love. 

Would you consider yourself a hospitable person? Do you go above and beyond to make people feel loved and welcomed? Abraham displayed an excellent show in making others feel loved by giving sacrificially, and reminding us that when we show hospitality to others, we are showing it to Jesus. Let’s put this kind of love and care into practice, and be bold people who are eager to love and make others feel welcomed!