Psalm 133:1, Malachi 2:10, John 13:35, Acts 4:32, Romans 8:15-17, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 3:8-10, Colossians 3:12-17
This past summer, a college student stayed with us for a few weeks. It was truly a great experience. We were sad to see him go, and the house felt a little empty for a few days after. But his staying with us reminded us of what hospitality really looks like. When not at work, he was with us all day, every day. We didn’t have as much private time. We spent more money on groceries. And I once had to run downstairs at 5am because he accidentally set off our home alarm.
Making room for anyone is tough because, as we learned with the college student, we really like our personal space and comfort. But biblical hospitality is about more than sharing a meal or inviting friends over. It is the work of making room in our lives for others. True hospitality is a posture of charity toward the poor, of welcome toward the displaced, and of humility and gentleness toward the hurting.
When we think of making room for others in our lives, we should remember that the most important community we have is with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Through Jesus, we’ve been grafted into a family that supersedes our earthly families. Christ’s blood outlasts the blood you share with your mother or brother. So, our closest community should be our brothers and sisters in Christ who gather with us regularly in our local church.
In our culture, it’s easy to treat the most important things in life like a buffet. We pick and choose what we want and what makes us happy; we don’t commit to anything we don’t want on our plate. But to make room for the Church, we have to partake in the whole spread. We make plenty of time for ourselves and to be with those we enjoy, but are we willing to make room for our local church family?
To make room for the church, we must be able to say with Acts 4:32, “The entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common.” Here, “everything in common” means that they shared everything, not that they enjoyed the same hobbies. In other words, we say to our church community, “What’s mine is yours.” This is radical, but biblical.
We are joined together by Christ with people who are not like us, who don’t share our interests, and whose flaws or innocent idiosyncrasies sometimes drive us crazy. Sin creates these divisions between us, and it makes us act inhumane toward each other. But in the Church, we are one body. Living in biblical community can sometimes be tough, but it’s the most human thing we can do.
Written By Brandon D. Smith