Love of the Stranger
IF EACH OF US WERE TO TAKE THE TIME to think about our “coming to Christ” (our conversion), we would most likely recall that part of the process God used included a measure of hospitality. There were others who were willing to take the time, open their home, their RV, or their tent to meet us where we were. They opened God’s word to us in order to help us understand the next steps.
I vividly remember a time when I was camping. I was searching for the truth and I had deep doubts about the Bible and the veracity of the Christian faith. I was seeking the truth, because I wanted to know and I wanted to be free.
That evening, I was making myself some grub and setting up my tent when a couple approached me, showed interest in me as a person, and extended an invitation to join them in their RV later that evening. I was alone, and had nothing else to do, so I joined them in their RV.
What happened next was one of the most significant experiences in my life. This gentleman, whom I later found out to be a retired pastor, opened up his Bible and walked me through the book of Galatians, a book all about freedom. For the next several hours this dear saint of God, taught me, verse by verse, chapter by chapter. The more I listened, the more he got excited. I went back to my tent that evening, much closer to the Kingdom of God, because this man and his wife demonstrated to me “a lifestyle of simple hospitality” and opened up the word of God to me.
Our "missional" focus (Crossing the Bridge) for WEFC this year is to “Live a Life of Simple Hospitality.” Why? Because we believe that hospitality is a crucial tool that the Lord uses to save each and every one of us.
I wonder how many thousands of other Christ followers have a similar story to tell? I also wonder how many of them have paid it back and in turn have demonstrated a life of simple hospitality that allowed for the love of a complete stranger?
This is what ordinary hospitality is: “using your Christian home in a daily way that seeks to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors the family of God. It brings glory to God, serves others, and lives out the gospel in word and deed.” The purpose of which “is to build, focus, deepen, and strengthen the family of God, pointing others to the Bible-believing local church, and being earthly and spiritual good to everyone we know” (Rosaria Butterfield).