13. We are committed to hospitality, receiving others as they are; who they are in Christ. Our service is through our homes, with common meals, caring hospitality, as we extend family and friendship. In the breaking of bread, sharing our food, we recognize Jesus amongst us; in entertaining strangers we welcome angels.
I admit, I’m an introvert by nature. I’d much rather be left alone to my own devices and imagination that to spend time with others. The only exception is my wife and daughter, but, let’s be honest, even then there are times when I like to spend time by myself.
On the flip side, I like the occasional get together. And still, as the time approaches, I sometimes dread it - I wish I hadn’t committed to it. But, then again, when I do get with others, I enjoy it and wonder why I don’t do it more often.
But at other times, when I’m in the middle of the gathering, I just think about how I would much rather be at home - reading a book, snuggling with my love on the couch watching a movie, etc.
At the same time, my wife and I love taking care of other people. We have opened our doors to others who needed a place to sleep or a meal. One of our desires is for our home to be known as a place of refuge, a place of “sanctuary” (or the right of asylum) like in the old stories (think about that scene from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame where Quasimodo rescues Esmeralda). A place where people can come and find comfort and guidance. A place where people know that they can come for a food and shelter. We aren’t there yet, but we hope to get there one day.
In the meantime, we really are committed to hospitality. I don’t recall a time we ever turned anyone away. Oh, there have been people I sure thought we should have at the time, but looking back later, it has always been a positive experience.
There was a time when we were involved with a street ministry (we helped found it, actually). Every Friday evening, we would go downtown by the local bus station and provide coffee and donuts to the homeless and those in need. We weren’t there preaching condemnation or passing out tracts (though we did you some from time to time), we were just...there. And the homeless noticed. On more than one occasion, we had some of the homeless tell us that we were different from others Christians. “They just tell us we’re going to hell and then get back in their van and we never see them again. You guys are always here and are really listening.”
One of the things we would do was invite the people to church with us on Saturday night (it was a Single’s Ministry that had a healing service and went out for pizza when it was over). After spending several months with this routine, we naturally befriended several of the people. A couple of guys in particular struck a chord with us. One night, while talking over pizza, the guys were interested in coming to church with us on Sunday. But, they were embarrassed because they didn’t have “nice clothes.” My wife and I quickly talked it over and decided that they could spend the night at our house (they were “living” in a condemned house that they had to break into). One of the guys decided that he didn’t want to go with us, so we took him home. Unfortunately, we never saw him again.
The next morning, we made breakfast, and I gave our guest some of my clothes. He said to us, “I’ve never met anyone like you before. You’re different.” It was humbling, to say the least.
We have since moved on from that church and ministry. But we kept tabs on our friend and found out that he obtained a job, was promoted to manager of the crew, got his own place, and got married. All because we were “different.”
That story always comes to my mind when my wife and I talk about wanting to help others - to let people know that our home is open. That they are welcome. So, if you’re ever in the neighborhood, drop by and see us. If we’re able, we’ll give you some good food and drink, an encouraging word, and listening ears.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC