I appreciate you hospitable people.
You really know how to
welcome a guest,
make a guest comfortable,
feed a guest, and
persuade a guest to come back again.
I know you. You’re going to say, “That’s nothing. That’s just what we do.”
Hospitality, in its essential form, is a habit that you have been cultivating, possibly since before you can remember, and it just comes as second nature to you. It’s just your way, now.
Of course, I watch you, and I notice that you get tired, being hospitable. You sometimes stay up late and get up early, to be sure that things are ready and that there’s plenty to go around. It isn’t actually easy— but you shrug it off and say, “You’re welcome.”
I hope that the same folks who raised you to be hospitable also showed you how to kick back and rest well. In the biblical tradition, we call it “sabbath-keeping.” If you do too much of the hospitality and not enough of the resting, you run the risk of becoming burned-out, bitter, and cynical. “Everybody’s mooching off me. When is it my turn to be the guest ?” (Maybe you are suppressing that question that is arising within you: maybe it’s building up pressure inside of you until you blow your top – ?)
Both hospitality and sabbath rest are godly virtues. Jesus Christ taught both how to serve and how to be served. Recently, we heard him tell his disciples to go to various villages and accept hospitality from whoever offered it, but at the same time to give away gifts of peace, healing, and good news wherever they went. He was putting them through an exercise of giving and also receiving.
We worship Jesus Christ as the Ruler of the Universe, and rightly so, for that is Who he is.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation;
for in him all things in heaven and on earth
things visible and invisible….
All things have been created through him
and for him.
He himself is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have first place
For in him
all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him God was pleased
to reconcile to Himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven,
by making peace
through the blood of his cross.
Worshiping Christ is sometimes restful, a sabbath activity. It may include spiritual reading (or listening) and writing, singing spiritual songs, and fellowshipping with the family of God. But Jesus calls us to also worship him by serving “the least of these”: to treat poor and vulnerable and disadvantaged and oppressed people as if we were giving our hospitality directly to Jesus himself.
“When you did it for them, you did it for me.”
Or, as Abraham and Sarah discovered (Genesis 18), you never know when you may be entertaining angels unaware.
It is [Christ] whom we proclaim,
warning everyone and
teaching everyone in all wisdom,
so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.