I reached an epiphany when I wrote my last post. After mulling on why I do hospitality, I concluded that ultimately, “we welcome people into our homes with the hope that God will make them one of his own too”.
That makes me a very hopeful host — one who need not be troubled over my limitations and one who need not be anxious over my guests!
And a hopeful host is always more hospitable than a hopeless one because the latter will soon give up on inviting people. It’s so easy to find hospitality tiring, too inconvenient to consider, or it may feel like our best efforts are simply ‘not going anywhere’ .
I knew when I started this project that updates are not going to exactly come ‘fast and furious’. After all relationships take time and hospitality is all about relationships (as is all of life, actually, according to Jesus). It’s also respectful of others to take the relationship at a pace they are comfortable with.
Then, of course, there are all kinds of human limitations. To name a few, I have work to do, I’m not able everyday to receive guests, I need rest from human company, and I don’t always get to see my neighbor.
And I’m also aware that not every person who I meet will be transformed or touched by the loving grace of God our Father right away. Sometimes that’s my fault when I don’t show love; sometimes understanding love, especially divine love, just takes time.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
(2 Peter 3:8-9 ESV)
This author says that this passage tells us three things (at least):
1. God takes a long view of time but every moment is important.
2. Time is the arena in which God’s promises are fulfilled.
3. This arena shows his kindness and patience to us, so we will believe the gospel and repent.
If I trust God’s words, the minutes and the hours I spend as a ‘host’ (traveling, buying, cooking, eating, talking, cleaning) are not in vain. If God has instructed us to show hospitality to one another, then doing so is a wise use of my time, regardless of results. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
And as I continue to do so and wait for opportunities to share the gospel, may God continue to show his kindness and patience to my guests. Today my neighbor came into my house for the first time and I rejoiced! And I will rejoice still more when she goes into the Lord’s house.