Seek out Hospitality?

“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:13

The other day I was reading an article about hospitality and it was talking about how the original word for practice in Romans 12:13 has more of a sense of “seek out” or “look for” or “continually purposefully practice.” I thought this was interesting and it reminded me of a Shabbat Grace that I had read in the Celtic Prayer Book.

“Bless, O Lord,
this food we are about to eat;
and we pray you, O God,
that it may be good
for our body and soul;
and, if there is any poor creature
hungry or thirsty walking the road,
may God send them in to us
so that we can share the food with them,
just as Christ shares His gifts
with all of us.

The first time I read that I thought to myself “Wow… that is a dangerous thing to pray.” And honestly I didn’t have the courage to pray it. I remember thinking to myself, “is that really necessary? Is it really necessary to pray that God would send those who are hungry and thirsty and lonely and needy to me?” I mean I am glad to help others in whatever way I can when I come in contract with them and when I see need in the lives of those I know I am more than willing to meet it. Isn’t that enough? Or should I actually be calling need unto myself and seeking it out actively in my prayer life…? Well, according to the reading of Romans 12:13 above I am called to continually seek out hospitality – that means calling it unto myself through prayer. It also means actively seeking out ways in which I can “Share with God’s people who are in need.”

I have been challenged lately that I should offer hospitality and share with those who are in need freely when I have opportunity AND that I should also pray that God would bring more opportunities into my life for me to practice hospitality and share with those in need.  Christ sought me out and in love shared His gifts with us all, shouldn’t I then seek out others and share what God has given me with all who have need?

This is difficult for me. I like my space. I like my stuff. And honestly I feel like I don’t have much to give, especially right now. But, shouldn’t I be the person God calls me to be no matter what my situation is? I believe that I should. And I believe that God calls each of us to be hospitable and generous and people who live with open hands willing to give freely and accept freely. So, even though this is difficult and not natural I will seek to become that kind of person and pray to become that kind of person. Lord, help me.

Rejoicing in the journey –
Beth Stedman

Photograph by Beth Stedman

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Isaiah 58

 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
       to loose the chains of injustice
       and untie the cords of the yoke,
       to set the oppressed free
       and break every yoke?

 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
       and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
       when you see the naked, to clothe him,
       and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
       and your healing will quickly appear;
       then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
       and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
       you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
       “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
       with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
       and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
       then your light will rise in the darkness,
       and your night will become like the noonday.

 11 The LORD will guide you always;
       he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
       and will strengthen your frame.
       You will be like a well-watered garden,
       like a spring whose waters never fail.

 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
       and will raise up the age-old foundations;
       you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
       Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
       and from doing as you please on my holy day,
       if you call the Sabbath a delight
       and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
       and if you honor it by not going your own way
       and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

 14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
       and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
       and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
       The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

 Isaiah 58:6-14

Rejoicing in the journey –
Beth Stedman

If you like this post please consider buying me a cup of tea (Suggested: $3 a cup)