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Hospitality to Go!

Written by Jenny Brake on

I am just plain frustrated. Amidst this strange virus itself, we are all affected by additional concerning elements. They start from our nation’s economy and health and trickle all the way down to consequences to our communities, churches, and families. You hear it in the news and can see it up close. People need help. They need God!

During this period especially, I really want to show excellent hospitality. I want to help more. After all, the Bible says we’re supposed to think of our neighbors as more important than ourselves. (Rom. 12:3). I am a person of action and I long to consider my neighbors as more important than myself. I long to help meet needs. Yet everyone seems quiet—hunkered down and cautious. And with everyone practicing social distancing, it’s hard to tell where and when people need help, encouragement, and, of course: the gospel.

Making Ourselves Available to God

I am not considered an “essential worker” in the world’s eyes. Yet when I take a thirty-thousand-foot view of biblical heroes like Moses; Ruth; Nehemiah; David; Jonah; Peter; Mary Magdalene; and Matthew, I see that they weren’t really “essential” either. Rather, they made themselves available to God. As a result, God used them in incredible ways.

God called them in a very personal way, and they said yes. Now, I have a hard time believing that shepherds, fishermen, run-away prophets, outcasts, and cupbearers had the perfect skillsets that God was looking for. Not at all. But God wasn’t looking for that. He was, and is, looking for devoted followers who say “yes” and obey.

. . . for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

What’s Your “Yes”?

Can you say, “yes” to God during this awkward, fearful, and distanced-from-one-another time in our lives? Of course, you can! While hospitality looks different during this season, we can find many ways to still answer God’s call to love those around us. We can:

1. Pray – I encourage you to pray for your church family. As you choose to prioritize the importance of prayer, consider these words from John Piper:

“God has established prayer as the means by which we receive his supernatural help. And without supernatural help, we cannot live a life worthy of the gospel. Everything that distinguishes Christians from the world in a Christ-exalting way is a work of God’s supernatural grace. And God has ordained that this grace flows to us through prayer. That’s why prayer must be central, not peripheral, in our lives and families and ministries.”

2. Call, email, or text – Ask God to draw your mind and heart to people. Then contact them. See if they have a tangible need. If not, find another way to be hospitable. They may just want to talk.

For example: This week, Lisa is vacuuming for a church member who is recovering from surgery. A Small Group painted the trim of a member’s home. Kathy arranged a drive-by parade for a friend, Janice, who is moving away. One of my dear friends just sent me flowers today. Recently, I took homemade noodles to a member who is quarantined with the virus.

These are all simple but tangible demonstrations of continued love. They are ways we can live out the commands to, “Keep on loving one another, earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Pet. 4:9). As John Piper adds: “[we are to love] ungrudgingly! That means, be the kind of people who do it and like to do it!”

3. Write a note or give a gift Most of us have been afforded some time—time to clean our closets, take walks, read to our kids, and actually sit down for dinner. While you have some time, why not write a note to a pastor and thank them for caring for the church? Why not write a note to a friend and tell them why you think that they are wonderful. Handwritten notes can make a lasting impact on someone, and you can even include some baked goods or a gift card if you would like.

For example: Karen wrote to one of our pastors to tell him how her neighbor and fellow College Park member helped her get to the hospital, and maybe just saved her life in the process. Penny gave her hairstylist twice the amount of money for her haircut to show appreciation and gospel hospitality.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).

Giving Thanks & Going Forth

It seems like whatever we can do, all our efforts come back to prayer and thanking God, don’t they? So, I encourage you to give thanks today. Give thanks for his presence in your life, knowing that he considers you very essential and he will use you when you choose to say yes and obey.

As you seek to show hospitality to others, watch how God glorifies his name because you said yes to being available.

Jenny Brake

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