REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional Thought—first posted on April 15, 2014—is provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).
Devotional Thought for the This Morning
“The Lost Art of Hospitality”
Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.
A friend of mine recently bought a new house, so when my family went over to visit for the first time, to make conversation, I asked, “So, have you gotten to meet your neighbors? Do they seem cool?” The wife, somewhat sadly, reported, “No, nobody has come to welcome us to the neighborhood.” Her response and tone kind of made me giggle, so I followed up with, “What did you expect? Your neighbors to come over with a pie or cookies?” She responded, “Yeah, I guess a little, why not?” To that, I jokingly responded, “Because we don’t live in the 1950’s, and June Cleaver doesn’t live next door.” (Leave it to Beaver, an old show; those who are young probably won’t get the reference.)
Hospitality is kind of a lost art in our day and age, isn’t it? It’s ironic because the hot trend in housing is the huge designer kitchen that opens seamlessly into the dining and living rooms for entertaining purposes, yet nobody entertains. We see this phenomenon carry into the churches as well. People are generally reluctant to welcome newcomers or provide dinner for a family with a newborn.
Based on today’s passage, Paul might have been the worst guest ever. Could you imagine if your church invited a speaker for a conference, but when he arrived, he was too sick to speak? If your pastor were to ask the church for volunteers to host this guy until he got better, how many people do you think would volunteer? But this display of hospitality and Christian love opened the door for the Galatians to have a relationship with one of the greatest men of faith the world will ever see.
How many ministry opportunities do you think hospitality could open up for you? How many blessings do you think God can bestow on you because you are willing to demonstrate hospitality (see Heb. 13:2)? What will you do today to demonstrate Christ’s love through hospitality? Get the point? Now, go home and learn to cook (just kidding, sort of).
Prayer: Lord, give me the gift of hospitality and service. Help me to see a need in another that I can fill. Also, put in my heart a person or family to whom I can reach out to with the love of Christ.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt 25:31-46 (only verses 34-40 are provided): “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Questions to Consider
- What is the point of this parable/teaching?
- How will Christ (the King) recognize his people from others?
- What is the value of good works? What good works are in your life?
- By caring for others in need, we are serving and caring for Christ. By neglecting others in need, we are neglecting Christ.
- God’s people will generally be recognized by their care for others.
- This parable is the last in a series between Matt. 24-25 on the Kingdom of Heaven. It is important to note that none of these parables fully describe the Kingdom by itself. So it would be wrong for you to conclude, based solely on this passage, that unless someone helps people in need, he will not be saved. Good works do have value, but they cannot save you. The point again is, by serving others we are serving God.
Was there someone that you felt the Lord wanted you to serve today? What did you do about it? Is there someone you can encourage? The day is not over; you can still do something to cultivate hospitality, like emailing someone to see if he/she wants to come over for dinner.