By J.A. Medders
If you’ve been around toddlers, you know one of the sentiments they repeat most often is, “Mine! That’s mine!” Toddlers think their siblings’ toys are theirs. They believe your spot on the couch is theirs. They’re convinced the satellite remote is theirs. Mine, mine, mine.
For many men, one of the common barriers to biblical hospitality is this false teaching of toddlers. God calls us to be in community with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to be hospitable to one another, and to welcome the outsider. But we look at our schedules and think, “Mine!” We struggle with making room for Christian fellowship because of busyness, hobbies, kids’ sports, and plain ol’ selfishness. Too much mineness. God has called us to more. God has empowered us for more.
Making room for others in our lives—mutually ministering to and benefitting from one another—is vital to our life in Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 12 how God has given spiritual gifts to other Christians for our benefit (vv.3–8). We benefit from the encouragement of a brother in Christ, and that brother benefits from our spiritual gifts. Growth is stifled when we stiff-arm people out of our lives. By making room for others, we welcome and cultivate shared and mutual growth.
Biblical hospitality is more than a dash of manners and politeness. That sort of folksy hospitality doesn’t make the Satanic powers whimper. God is calling us toward heavenly hospitality, informed and fueled by the gospel of grace. God didn’t keep to Himself. Jesus gave His life for ours. He came to us, inviting us into His joy. He welcomes us into His kingdom, into His space. Who could have expected this kind of hospitality from God?
The gospel teaches us to make room for the unexpected. In Acts, the Jewish Christians often found it difficult to accept that God would redeem Gentiles, but God changed their hearts and minds. God welcomes and saves the unexpected.
Biblical hospitality reaches beyond people who look just like you. It crosses race, income, neighborhood, politics, and preferences—just like the gospel. Where is God changing your heart and mind to make room for others? Who needs an invitation to God’s kingdom from you?
We can’t clutch our comfortable lives while following Jesus. He’s not walking toward comfort; He’s headed for the cross. Like our Shepherd, let’s make room for others in our schedules, our lives, and our hearts. We can no longer say, “Mine!” for we are His.
Written by J.A. Medders