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. Amen.”

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