For the last twenty-five years, my family has gathered at the beach for our annual vacation. There are now four generations gathered in one house for a week. We asked a few years ago if everyone still wanted to do this, and it was a vehement YES! My nephews have grown up with this annual tradition and were not about to let it go anytime soon. It’s a pretty special time. For about ten years or so, the house was the same. But over time, we have outgrown houses as the family has grown.
This year, the house we are in is the same one we’ve had for the last four years. It’s quite different from all the others. All the others have the basic necessities. This house is different because the owners are gifted in hospitality. Everything you would possibly need for a week’s stay is provided – not only all the small appliances, lots of pots and pans with ample dinnerware that could easily provide for a large family like ours.
But the real kicker that takes these owners over the top is the extras that are provided for our stay. One drawer is full of every type of plastic bag. There are storage containers of every size. One cabinet is filled with every spice you could imagine. Dish detergents, laundry supplies, cleaning supplies (even though we’re not required to clean); to me, it’s very thoughtful and much more than expected. I know we are paying for this hospitality, but the owners could provide the bare minimum – most do. They could get away with the bare minimum, but they have chosen to provide more.
When I heard Louie Giglio’s message about having an Open House, I thought of this house. Louie is teaching about the traits of a Jesus follower in his latest sermon series. We should exhibit hospitality as the norm. When Louie spoke about hospitality, I immediately thought of this beach house and its owners. These people know how to open their house to others. They share the blessings with others. Again, we’re paying for the blessings, but it’s more than what is expected. And yes, it’s evident the owners are Christian based on the scriptures placed around the house.
Louie says we should be known for our hospitality. We are supposed to do more than the bare minimum. We could do just what is expected of us, but what sets us apart are the extras that we provide for others on our paths. Most people love the ones who love them. Most people will be considerate of others to a certain degree. Most will give something for a cause or passion. But we are called to be different than what is expected.
Jesus gave us examples to live by. He taught with stories to show us how the Kingdom of God was represented on the earth. He taught the story of the Good Samaritan as an example of not only what He did for us, but how we are to treat others – our neighbors. The Samaritan not only bandaged the wound, but put the victim on his own donkey, took him to a place where the victim could heal and paid the price for the stay. Jesus said we are to do the things He has done. He gave us the example of serving when He stooped down to wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus taught to go the extra mile. If we have two tunics, give one to someone who has a need. We are to see a need and fulfill it.
I don’t know if you are like me, but that makes me feel uncomfortable. This gift of hospitality sounds much like generosity. By nature, it’s not who I am. I want to want this. I want to be different. I want to grow in this area. God gives us opportunities to grow in areas where we need to grow. The opportunity will most likely come from an uncomfortable place. We have to have eyes that see the opportunity. As the other two men who saw the victim passed him by, the Good Samaritan saw and stopped. He took the time to meet the need.
Louie pointed out in his message we are to be lights that are not hidden. Each day we are to let our light shine in the darkness. We are given these gifts to use them to draw others to God. Gifts are meant to be shared. We are told to be different – even if it means we have to get out of our comfortable place to do it. The house is a good reminder of who I need to become. Open and inviting. Willing to share what I have with others. To be the light to shine for Jesus and do what He did. To take the time to be a neighbor to someone today.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16