Day 70: Practicing Hospitality in Society
1. Center Down
Our breath prayer for today. As you inhale, whisper, “We are…” As you exhale whisper, “…our neighbor’s keeper.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives His best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:35-48, MSG)
For further exploration:
3. Kingdom Prayer
Almighty Father, thank You for loving us despite how we sometimes act or think. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with Your love so that we may share love with others. Thank You for helping us to be more loving and compassionate towards others. Lord, we come before You clapping our hands and shouting joyful praise to You. You are the great King of all the earth. You subdue the nations before us and put our enemies under our feet. Our hearts are confident in You, Father. Because of this confidence, we will sing Your praises. We will wake the dawn with our song, Lord, among all the people. We will sing Your praises among the nations for your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Glorious Father, as Your dear children, we commit to loving You with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds. This is the greatest and most important commandment of all. In the same Spirit, we also commit to loving our neighbors as ourselves. We confess that the Holy Spirit fills and controls us as we commit to doing Your will. We decree that we will be patient and kind instead of acting jealous, boastful, proud or rude. We will not demand our own way, but we will be considerate of others and their opinions. We will not be irritable or keep a record of being wronged. But, we will be joyful and quick to forgive. We commit to living a righteous life. We will be patient and will not return evil with evil. We will let our light shine so that people will see our good works and glorify You, our Father.
Holy Spirit, show us how to truly love the Father with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Reveal to us those habits, mindsets and attitudes that prevent us from being truly surrendered to the Father. Help us not to deceive ourselves by thinking we are walking in love while using our tongues to curse those who have been made in the Father’s image. In this world where we are told to put ourselves first, help us to truly put the Father first in our lives and to esteem others better than ourselves.
Exalted Father, we ask Your forgiveness for our sins. Forgive us for being irreverent and apathetic towards You. Forgive us for murmuring and complaining and not showing our love and appreciation for all that You do for us. Forgive us for being impatient with our neighbor. Forgive us for picking and choosing to whom we show love. (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all to not yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Eternal Lord, You are God alone. You created the heavens and the earth; You put everything in its place. You made the world to be lived in, not a place of empty chaos. You are the Lord and there is no other. You only speak what is true and declare only what is right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
4. Concepts to Consider
Imagine if all those who claimed to follow Jesus actually lived by His Words? How very different the world would be! If we truly lived out the hospitality that God shows toward us on a daily basis it is clear that amazing, healing, revolutionary things could happen around us.
So as we leave this week of exploring Biblical hospitality, the prayer is that you have been challenged by the sheer radical language and disposition that God has toward us, and what, in love and grace, He desires for His people and His world. Hospitality is not an option. Hospitality is risky. Hospitality is costly. Hospitality is Justice. Hospitality is the Gospel.
How will you endeavor–with the help of the Holy Spirit–to make room for “the other,” and demonstrate radical hospitality to those around you created in God’s image?
5. Reflection Questions
- Personal Reflection. How has this week’s exercise in hospitality stretched you? How has it encouraged you?
- Kingdom Reflection. The Kingdom of God is like… a King who forgave debts… a farmer who sows generously, a friend who give you bread in the middle of the night, How has your perspective changed (or been reinforced) regarding the Kingdom imperative for hospitality?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image.
You may want to set a timer.
Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”
Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed Him and made Him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word He said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
(Luke 10:25-42, MSG)
This whole Biblical segment is all about defining hospitality. For many people, then and now, “hospitality” has been excused or reduced to accommodate reputation or the over-application (the “letter”) of the Torah stipulations instead of remembering that the just treatment of people made in God’s image is the primary aim of the Torah, not mechanical, rote obedience to a “wrathful Deity.” Further, sister Martha has confused “kitchen business” with the heart of hospitality. Jesus reminds her (and us) that the “main course” to be savored among Godly friends is His loving Presence and His Word.