Merced, California boasts the title of a Gateway to Yosemite. Merced is just a small town where several Interstate highways converge with a straight shot out on California Highway 140 about seventy miles into Yosemite National Park. Merced’s unique proximity smack in the middle of California’s Central Valley with access directly into the Park gives this community distinction.
Living life privately, keeping our heads down, staying out of controversy and putting a smile on our faces Sunday morning leaves us without distinction as Christians to the world around us. This kind of self-focused, introverted living doesn’t draw anyone to Christ; it lacks the inspiration of the Holy Spirit living in us. We have been gifted a glorious, magnificent treasure in Jesus Christ and in his plan for us.
Jesus himself told us how precious this gift was in Matthew 13:44-45 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” The gift we have is even more incredible than Yosemite Park.
What really sets our life apart is the fact that we are now a living, gateway to the rest of the world who remains lost; and hospitality is the name of that gateway. We stand at the crossroads where the people in our lives and community can intersect. A life of hospitality puts their eternal needs ahead of our own and re-directs their steps towards Jesus to begin a journey of new life in Christ.
Hospitality as the expression of God’s character alive in us creates the staging ground where truth, compassion, mercy, grace and unconditional love are deployed. It ushers those in community around us onto the right path towards reconciliation with their Creator in whose image they are made. And practicing this kind of open, welcoming hospitality is the means to encourage people walking with us as we navigate this journey of life together.
Make no mistake, we were not meant to be signposts...
Hospitality is the gateway to the destination of great wonder and promise in Jesus Christ. A life of hospitality sets us squarely on the road to fulfilling the Great Commission and owning the ministry of reconciliation that we were given as Christ’s ambassadors.
Mankind was given the job of stewarding God’s creation in Genesis and the responsibility has never been rescinded. In fact, in Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV) this is confirmed when Jesus said to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”. He concluded this simple statement with: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I believe Jesus wrapped all his hopes and intentions for the good of mankind and the healing of creation up in those two simple commands. Jesus said He is the WAY, the TRUTH and LIFE. No one gets to the Father except through him. So how do people in this broken world get to Jesus to find healing? On which road will they find him?
It’s not hard or complicated! Your life as a steward of God’s plan for all of creation must be a life of open hospitality as a gateway to Jesus. Make no mistake, we were not meant to be signposts, we were meant to be active participants, steering creation in the right direction and building anticipation for the glory that is to come. Is that powerful or what? Would you agree? What’s holding you back?
What if we continue to live with our head down, indistinct and unnoticed; occasionally looking up long enough to condemn the world around us? Will the Father be shedding tears over the ones who are lost because you or I were not an open gate directing people to the right road? Jeremiah 6:16 in The Message translation says:
“Go stand at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for directions to the old road,
The tried-and-true road. Then take it.
Discover the right route for your souls."
Who will give directions to the old road? Who will be the gateway at the crossroads that draws people to the tried-and-true road that leads to eternal life if not you? What other destructive gate will they enter? What other road should they choose if they can’t see you waving them in? Is this someone else’s job or is this what my life and your life should look like? So I say, stand up and live a life of purpose and significance! I don’t think we have any other choice, do you? Will you join me in making our homes a place of hospitality where people come in and find Christ living in us?
If you would like to start the conversation of how “Hospitality looks a lot like Discipleship” at your church or in your small group, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org