By Brandon Smith
This past summer, a college student stayed with us for a few weeks. It was truly a great experience, and when he left, we were sad to see him go. But his time with us was a reminder 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 as a family. We spent more money on groceries. And I once had to run downstairs at five in the morning because he’d accidentally set off our home alarm.
Making room for anyone is tough because, as we learned with this college student we hosted, 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 the one we have 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, with whom we gather 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 other Christians, we have to partake in the whole spread. Most of us make plenty of time for ourselves, our friends, and our family, but are we willing to make room for our local church family?
Acts 4 describes the early church this way: “Now 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” (v.32). Here, “everything in common” means that they shared everything, not just a hobby or two. In other words, the early church held the things of this world loosely so that none of the brothers and sisters would go without. We are called to do the same.
We are joined together by Christ with people who are not always like us, who don’t share our interests, and whose flaws or idiosyncrasies can sometimes drive us up the wall. But these divisions are superficial. In the Church, we are one body, the body of Christ. And so, while living in biblical community can sometimes be tough, it is also the healthiest way to live and essential to following our Savior. After all, just as He died for us, He also died for the person in the pew next to you. We are called to love those Jesus loves.
Written by Brandon D. Smith
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7 thoughts on "Making Room for the Church"
This one hits home and resonates so much. I need to open up my heart and life to those around me and give true hospitality, not just what makes me comfortable.
Thank you God for surrounding me and my family with a hospitable church. Your provision is amazing!
Help me to be loving and hospitable to my fellow christians. Thank you Lord for your example!
In response to this, I want to sell all my possessions and give them to the poor. Is that what this was saying, though? I mean, don’t get me wrong, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing when I go on the mission field, but the truth is that building relationships is so much more important than giving everything away. My local church’s mission is to be “God’s church in this place.” Am I contributing to that? Am I being an active member of God’s church? Father help me love your church today.
Traveling for 30 months and only being in each place for 2-3 months, church became a spectator sport. I didn’t want the church spending resources on my involvement because my life at the time was so transient. Now that we have put down roots I told my wife I was tired of being a spectator. I was ready to get back in the game. I’m not sure what this looks like and frankly I’m the kind of guy that can overcommit and I do not want to under deliver. But it all begins with the right heart and attitude and this devotional was a great reminder of that. Biblical hospitality is the work of making room in our lives for others. Maybe getting out of the bleachers and onto the field starts with that.
Day 11: it’s important for us not to stop at making room, but pouring or hearts for Christ out with those in need. Making room certainly forces us to be open and vulnerable. I think my mom does a great job of making room for anyone. If there’s someone who needs a place to stay she’s the first person to offer up a room in our home. I hope to be like her one day.
Honestly man, I don’t know what I would do without my church family. There’s been plenty of times where my brothers in Christ rescued me during seasons of trials. But what I love even more is how much growth I experience when I meet with my brothers and study his word. It’s always great to hear God speak wisdom through each one of them. I ask Lord, that in the same way you ask me to show hospitality to others that I do the same with my family.
It’s difficult to think that I have a family more important than my own. Maybe difficult isn’t the word…more like strange I suppose.
At the same time, there is comfort in that thought. I’ve had the good fortune, the blessing to be able to call the Church my family. It’s wonderful to be able to sit on my college campus and see both longtime friends and total strangers as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I pray that, as I draw closer to the start of the semester, that my outlook towards the Church and my fellow Christians will remain this way. I pray that I can show hospitality and grace when necessary. Amen.
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