The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) https://youtu.be/_mJ969mHD9M
Have you ever wondered, "Who am I responsible to share hospitality to?" I know for me it feels overwhelming to think that there is a whole world out there and I could be considered responsible for them.
But, I AM NOT! I cannot give hospitality to the whole world! It is impossible. I cannot be communal to all people, or generous and sacrificial to all people. I am not capable to reach all people everywhere to share the presence of God or HIS plan!
I recently had someone contact me from far away and tell me that God told them I was to give them money. I took the time to pray and ask God, "Am I supposed to do give money to this person?"
It really bothered me because this person is a total stranger and not someone that I would even know if they had not found me via social media. But, I did not want to ignore it if God wanted me to do it. I prayed. I did not feel led to do anything. Then I struggled how do I gracefully help this person to hear that I do not feel I am responsible for their need. The person kept asking. I almost felt harrassed. I finally said, "God has not confirmed for me that this is what I am supposed to do."
My hospitality came through the form of gracious and kindness in the face of a demand. The person then said to me, "Then I will pray you will hear from God!"
This really bothered me because I am studying the importance of hospitality and I am seeking to honor God in what I do, how I give, and how I serve. And, I did not feel that the person was honoring me with hospitality the way they were demanding of me. I really struggling over the many requests that come in from strangers.
We are called to be kind to all, but where do we draw the line? How do I know who to give my hospitality to? One truth that we discovered in this study is that in the Biblical middleeast hospitality is something that we do for a stranger not a family member. When we are kind to a family member this is considered to be steadfast love. I found myself asking, Does this make every stranger my stranger to serve? On some levels, yes!
Kindness is easily given and will never be regretted. But, there is a difference from being welcoming, kind, caring, and loving to giving generously and sacrificially.
As I reflect on Jesus' life and the way He walked around and served, I realized that He did not take care of all the people that bumped into Him, yet when the bleeding woman reached out to touch Him healing went out from Him. There were also times that Jesus allowed disciples to walk away simply because the message He taught was too hard for them to follow. This made me realize that if Jesus did not offer His gifts to all then I, too, should be wise in who and how I give and serve. This is when we must trust the Holy Spirit to work out in us.
In the last year, I had another person contact me and ask me if I would train his wife. I was intrigued so I did my research and prayed. I felt led to move forward. This has proven to be one of the most blessed times for both of our families. We all know and feel the blessing of God at work in us. This person that was a stranger has become like family to our family. Greg and I know joy overflowing when we talk of them and in preparation to get together.
I discovered that by freely giving our gifts of hospitality to this person both of our families gave honor to God. It wasn't about our gifts, but our mutual love for the LORD and His movement in us. Blessings overflowed. It was not a chore, but a delight to sacrifice together.
I honestly do not know why God put on my heart to say "no" to one and a "yes" to another, but I recognize that we all have our limits in what we can do. I almost wonder if God made me say, "no" to the first person because that situation would take the glory away from God and not give it to Him.
In today's Bible story, it opens with the Son of Man sitting on His glorious throne and gathering the nations to Him along with His angels. Glory is very prominent because the story is all about honoring Him.
What if we asked ourselves, "How can I give Him the glory due His name in this situation?" and allowed that to determine if we are to say, "yes" or "no" and give our hospitality!
In this, I am talking about more than neighborly kindness. I am talking about the communal, generous, sacrifice that will lead to joining Jesus as He serves amongst us in cognito!
I am accountable to my one through The ONE! The very person in front of me should receive all of the fruits of the spirit that reside in me through Jesus!
The last Bible story for Heaven's Hospitality releases us from the pressure of the whole world, but it holds us accountable to the least of these in our area of influence.
I had to learn to recognize that my spirit of welcome is for all, but my time, talent, and treasures should be given out as the LORD leads in hopes that I bless Him unawares!
Go check it out in Matthew 25:31-46. It will be very comforting, but get yourself ready because it will also be convicting.
Who is your one?