Above All, Love
by Impact Church
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:13 (NIV)
Every Tuesday night, once our kids are sound asleep, you can find my husband and I cuddled up on the couch watching the latest episode of HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper. On the show, Chip & Joanna Gaines show buyers three potential homes for purchase; each of which requires varying amounts of renovation. Once the buyers choose their home, Joanna handles preliminary designs while Chip serves as the lead contractor. Each episode ends with the breathtaking reveal of one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen; as a result all of my home interior dreams consist of shiplap walls, farmhouse sinks, white subway tile, “chippy-paint”, wooden beams, and barn doors. The homes revealed are nothing short of absolute perfection. The problem is, for most of us, this level of magazine worthy perfection is simply unattainable. We are tempted to view shows like Fixer Upper and become discouraged, feeling as if our homes are insufficient. If we aren’t careful we’ll begin to think that the Lord’s command to be hospitable has something to do with the condition of our homes when it actually has everything to do with the condition of our hearts. Hospitality isn’t just something to do, it’s someone to be.
The definition of hospitality according to dictionary.com is “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” In this definition there is no mention of throw pillows being straight, an elaborate meal being prepared, or fresh flowers being arranged. In fact, it doesn’t mention the condition of our homes once. I’d like to submit to you this truth- real hospitality has nothing to do with a beautifully decorated home or a meticulously planned gourmet meal. Whether we live in a 5 bedroom home or a 1 bedroom apartment God is asking us each the same question: Are we willing to swing wide open the doors of our homes and hearts and welcome others in? The only requirement is our willingness to say yes and demonstrate God’s love in a practical and tangible way. While love is considered abstract, hospitality puts flesh and bones on it. Hospitality displays God’s love in action.
Our God is the originator of hospitality. He welcomed Adam and Eve home into the Garden of Eden and surrounded them with unparalleled beauty and abundant provisions. Most importantly – He gave them His presence. Genesis records God walking in the garden “in the cool of the day.” Furthermore, while we were still sinners, alienated from God because of our sin, He sent His son Jesus. Jesus died for us so that we could be reconciled to God and invited into His family. Make no mistake – our God is hospitable. It’s who He is. As believers, we are to model God’s heart. When we imitate the hospitality of God we are living out the gospel for the world to see. Matthew 10:8 section b says, “Freely you have received, freely give.” We, who are extravagantly loved, are now commissioned to extravagantly love.
1 Peter 4:8 says, “above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Above all, love. Love has the miraculous ability to cover.
Love covers the dusty baseboards.
Love covers the crayons on the floor.
Love covers the dishes in the sink.
Ultimately God asks that we be selfless, not that our homes be spotless; that we live a life with open hands, hearts, and doors. We are to be hospitable, submitting everything we have to God so that He can use it to generously bless someone else. May we fiercely love others by being accessible and authentic and open the doors of our homes with the sole purpose of blessing another.
Hospitality will look different in every home. What works for one may not work for another and that’s OK. There is no rigid format for this. I have two toddlers and inviting folks over for dinner around their bedtime would not be exercising wisdom on my part. But a mid-morning play date with a fellow mom or hosting a Saturday brunch works beautifully. Here’s the great thing – God has gifted each of us with 24 hours daily so that we can intentionally make room for hospitality at a time that does work for our schedule and season. Let’s ask God for an opportunity this week to share God’s love within the sanctuary of our homes. Remember – above all, love. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)