Hi, my name is Randy and I am an introvert. Phew, I said it. We introverts know the incredible energy needed to live and converse with others. It is a test of faith and can feel like we're climbing Mt. Everest without O2. It isn't likely you'll ever see me enter a room dancing and being expressive. It isn't how I'm wired and it isn't who I am.
God has made me in the holy image and has gifted me in other ways that lend themselves to service and hospitality. So, it was especially easy for me to be the door opener at our Homespun dinner last evening. I love to assist others and it opens a door (pun intended) to start a conversation with guests and those I do not know yet. I gain confidence in using the gifts God has given me to connect with and get to know other people. For some, confidence is walking into a room full of strangers and knowing that within 20 minutes they will become acquainted. I have confidence but it works a bit more slowly.
God calls me to compassion and hospitality. There is a great truth that turning a stranger into an acquaintance is the first step in building a relationship. What better way to accomplish this than to open a door and welcome the stranger.The godly attribute of hospitality is one we can and should embrace.
"The man who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing. I put on righteousness as my
clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father
to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger." (Job 29:13-16, NIV)
After an hour and a half opening the door for folks, I had a better understanding of many. I saw cautious folks approaching my position. I saw tired people just getting off work and coming to dine. I saw happy people, sullen people, and all people in between. One thing that was consistent with practically every one was the way in which their face brightened when I swung the door open and welcomed them in. A connection was made and an invisible barrier was lowered. The smiles on our faces, the words of kindness, and the acts of hospitality are positively the best response we can offer.
Oft times, I need reminded that being a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) requires me to be open and available to be used by God for His glory. When praises are heaped on me they can become impediments to spiritual growth. I can begin to believe it is all about me and I would be wrong. And so, I am drawn back to word pictures like this one found in the Psalms.
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the
LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the
swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my
King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are
those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of
Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to
strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God
of Jacob. Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. Better is one day in your
courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than
dwell in the tents of the wicked. or the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man
who trusts in you. (Psalm 84, NIV)
Refocusing my heart's desire on the Lord God is my primary response of thanksgiving. It centers me and holds me accountable to be offering the same kind of welcome to those around me that God offered to me. Go back and read Psalm 84 once again and see if the images don't draw you closer to the Almighty. Then, enter into that place of peace and comfort. Praise the Lord!