The 'Christ' in us.
Ah, you look just like your momma or daddy. Have you heard those words? Maybe you have spoken those words to a child or parent? Facial features and mannerisms in each of us can have roots in our parents and grandparents. Ancestry then is something we carry with us everywhere we go.
There is a far more important trait, we should be identifying in ourselves. The inescapable image of God is sewn into the deepest fibers of our soul. We cannot deny it. We can mask it and try to conceal it but invariably the image is within us.
In the continued hospitality devotional reading (1), today speaks of the hospitable God that created us. That godly trait often gets hidden inside of our soul. We live in such a competitive world that hospitality is a despised practice. We reason about setting someone before our own needs and consider this decision to be foolhardy. We continue that line of thought and say to ourselves, "I have worked hard to get where I am; let others figure it out like I did."
On a broader scale, competition runs amok between churches. Each faith community seems to want to outdo the next and rarely do these places of holiness lock arms for the Kingdom of God. Imagine the force of Christian faith if Christians all walked in the same direction with the same passion for lost people? Glorious hospitality extended to others then is a power tool of sorts we'll need to master in order for God's kingdom to be expanded.
Claiming myself as an autonomous person not needing the hospitality of God is like a world class swimmer saying they don't need water in the pool to compete. Sounds a little weird; doesn't it? The apostle Paul instructed those in the church of their importance in Christ and for Christ. Take a look at Colossians 1.
"I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." (Colossians 1:25-29, NIV)
As a card carrying member of the human race, we all carry God's image within us. The image is given to us whether we believe in God or not. As a card carrying member of God's KIngdom, we carry a responsibility to extend His hospitality to others. The only way in which we savor the Kingdom is through Christ's death, resurrection, and our confession, and repentance. All these actions come to us as gifts of God. Sounds hospitable to me.
In light of God's grace to each of us, we have no wiggle room but to extend grace to everyone around us. TODAY, take the extra effort to make eye contact with those you speak to. If a handshake ensues, make it be a firm handshake that speaks of the other person's worth. Allow God's words to flow out of your mouth and give hospitality wherever you go and to whomever you meet. It is our spiritual responsibility.
1). Just Imagine: God's Hospitality in My Heart and in Our Church.