The word Christian conjures up an image of a static identity. While a Christ-Follower is a picture of action and forward motion.
Right or wrong, the fact is that Christians in large part, have lost the relationship between who we believe in versus how our life should be an active, living example of Jesus’ love every day.
Being a Follower of Christ is an intense, compelling, overwhelming inspiration that moves us to reach out to others constantly. Everything we are and have are merely tools to accomplish His mission of reconciliation and restoration.
Hospitality is an expression of overflowing appreciation and love to our Heavenly Father which every Christ-Follower can’t help but feel. It is a healthy, normal response to the unconditional love and redemption that Jesus gave us through His death, burial and resurrection. In fact the baptism ceremony of physically following Christ, dying to self and then raising from the water in a new life is all about taking on the mission of God which he spelled out in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) as part of our covenant relationship with Him. It is not just about a feeling, it is about commitment and responsibility on our part as well. God is faithful to fulfill his promises, now we must be obedient to ours.
Hospitality focuses our life on the eternal need of those around us rather than our own comforts and convenience. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan and then asked which character in the story was a neighbor? Love of God and love for our neighbor is how Jesus condensed and defined what our life should look like if we are to truly following Him.
Hospitality is the Heartbeat of Jesus
Hospitality is an active, living opportunity daily for Jesus to be lifted up. Hospitality focuses our life on others as Jesus himself modeled for us in scripture. After telling the story of the Good Samaritan to the legal expert in Luke chapter ten, Jesus said: “Go and do likewise!” Loving Christ is not a feeling; it is an action verb that has no end. Hospitality is the heartbeat of Jesus. It is the living essence of our belief that Jesus died for all. Are you loving your neighbors? Are you willing to stand with them through the things in their life that are defeating them and leaving them beaten, discouraged in life like the man robbed in the story and left by the side of the road?
Want to be a Christ-Follower with your whole life? Start with hospitality. Open your door, open your heart and invite your neighbors to your table where they can meet Jesus who is living in you. It is a way to embrace the compelling power of love every day and be a follower with purpose rather than just having a “Christian” label. The simple mindset of hospitality changes you from a Christian to a Christ-Follower. Will you follow Him to your neighbor today? His heart is beating for them! If Jesus lives in your heart hospitality is his heartbeat in you.
What do you get out of it? Purpose, wholeness, maturity, love, satisfaction, humility… In fact you can just fill in any of the fruits of the Spirit, because taking action and following Jesus to the lost gives our life meaning with eternal significance. You also get lots and lots of new friends!