Posts tagged ‘Welcome’

Everyone Needs a Home for the Holidays

Credit: cottonbro / Pexels.com

Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:17)

The apostle Paul penned these words in the midst of a socially stratified society. People were not warmly received, but coolly ranked along ethnic and economic lines. But when Jesus arrives, He breaks through these lines in the most surprising and even socially offensive of ways. When He, for instance, strikes up a conversation with a Samaritan woman, she is startled, for “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9).

In the Bible, a warm welcome that crosses cultural boundaries is called “hospitality.” In our world, this word has been reduced to an industry. “Hospitality” is reserved for those who can pay for a reservation at a hotel or restaurant. But in early Christian thinking, hospitality was when you welcomed someone no one else had room for. When Jesus was born, there was famously for Him “no place…in the inn” (Luke 2:7). Christians are called to make room to welcome people in, for when they do so, they are ultimately welcoming in Jesus (cf. Matthew 25:35). The full inn of Bethlehem serves as an invitation to make sure we have open homes.

One of the many things I love about Thanksgiving is that it is one of the all-too-rare moments left in our culture where biblical hospitality is on beautiful display. Families welcome relatives they have not seen in a long time into their homes. They also welcome a service member who is far away from his or her family to share a feast with them. Groups go to serve meals to the under-resourced. People are welcomed and loved as ethnic and economic barriers fall around the sight of a dressed turkey and sides.

Hospitality is not only the call of the Christian, it is endemic to the very order of creation. After all, God did not have to make room for us when He created the heavens and the earth, but He did. The very fact that God made this world for us is evidence of His hospitable heart.

As we begin this holiday season, how can you show hospitality? Who can you welcome in – not for a price or with an expectation, but simply out of love? Christ has joyfully welcomed you into His family by faith and is painstakingly preparing for you a place in eternity (cf. John 14:2). May we joyfully open our homes and hearts to bless others with broken homes and broken hearts. May we welcome others as Christ has welcomed us.

November 29, 2021 at 5:15 am 1 comment

Being Interrupted: A Lesson from Augustine

I am most definitely a “Type A” personality.  I like to plan, organize, and execute – preferably in a deliberate, linear, and flawless manner.  Yet, as anyone who has walked this earth for more than a second knows, life does not always proceed in a deliberate and linear manner.  And it certainly does not proceed flawlessly!  Interruptions, accidents, and personal catastrophes make life an adventure in which you never know what the next chapter will bring.

Perhaps it is my penchant for planning that makes me appreciate so much this quote from Augustine (pictured above):

But I am annoyed because of the demands that are thrust on me…arriving unannounced, from here, there, and everywhere.  They interrupt and hold up all other things that we have so neatly lined up in order.  They never seem to stop. (Peter Robert Lamont Brown, Augustine of Hippo:  A Biography, 468)

I can honestly say that I know how Augustine feels.  For when I get things “neatly lined up in order” and am then “interrupted,” I get “annoyed.”

But should I get annoyed?  I suppose a little bit of a human annoyance is inevitable.  And yet, I can’t help but remember the attitude of my Lord when He got interrupted:

Then Jesus took His disciples with Him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed Him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. (Luke 9:10-11)

Jesus desires to withdraw His disciples to get a little bit of rest and relaxation with His disciples.  But then, He gets interrupted.  Crowds, eager to hear Him teach and have their ills healed, follow Him so that He cannot get a moment’s rest.  They arrive “unannounced from here, there, and everywhere.”  They interrupt Him.

How does Jesus respond to this crowd’s insensitive interruption?  He welcomes them (cf. verse 11).  The Greek word for “welcomed” is apadechomai, meaning, “to accept,” or “to receive.”  Interestingly, this word is sometimes used to describe the forgiveness of sins (e.g. Genesis 50:17 LXX).  Thus, Jesus welcomes the crowd, and in His welcome, there is forgiveness.  And this too is our hope:  That in Christ, we are welcomed in spite of sin because we are forgiven of our sin.

Augustine pens his candid admission of being annoyed by interruptions as he is trying to write his greatest work, The City of God. And so it is understandable that, while working on such a weighty tome, he would be annoyed by the delays.  After all, his task is vital!  But so are his interruptions.  For a man named Vincentius Victor is interrupting Augustine, questioning him on his view of man’s soul.  And a man’s soul is a big deal – not only as the subject of theological debate, but in the eyes of God.  And so, Augustine takes a break from his work on The City of God to answer Victor.

Like Jesus, do we welcome those who interrupt us?  Yes, what we are working on at the time may be important, but the interruption may be just as important.  Moreover, how do we respond to interruptions?  With annoyance in our hearts or with the welcoming spirit of our Lord?  Although interruptions are bound to annoy us, especially if you’re a “Type A” personality like me, it is worth it to see some interruptions not simply as glitches in your plans, but as divine appointments for your soul.  So welcome an interruption today!  After all, the interruption may just be the most important – and even the best – part of your day.

October 27, 2010 at 10:52 am 1 comment


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