>Today my dear friend Elizabeth Debarros , a very special friend to me, shares with us from her heart and from the Word of God a doctrine that in the business of our days we often despise and it is absolutely important in the life of the Christian women.
I long to sit at your table, my friend!
He rained down manna for the people to eat,
He gave them the grain of heaven.
Human beings ate the bread of angels;
He sent them all the food they could eat.
-Psalm 78:24-25 NIV
Bread of angels for breakfast?
For lunch and supper, too.
I’ve never known God to skimp. When He gives, He gives only the best. When He gives, He gives more than enough. Ho-hum is not how I would describe His hospitableness, either. What lessons we can learn from God’s table — take your pick!
I’ve been asking God to teach me how to be generous as He is generous, hospitable as He’s hospitable. To learn from the best is to learn well, but I must be teachable. God’s school is the hands-on-learning type, so I need to be willing, too.
And let my yes be yes.
I also want to hold nothing back, just as He holds nothing back. Why else is Eden still the gold standard for the average backyard gardener? Exactly how many varieties of heirloom tomatoes does a family need? Surely, abundance is indicative of His blessing, but when life doles out only a meager supply, God comes through with a touch of class and, dare I say, invention. Even long-term drought didn’t stop Elijah from having his meals delivered next day air by ravens.
God’s ability to finesse a moment always points to His glory — the multiplying of bread and fish, changing water into wine — all miraculous signs — not to impress but to feed and still a hungry crowd. Perhaps later some would come to understand what Jesus meant when He referred to Himself as the Bread of Life. Meantime, the disciples were learning to trust and obey, give out of their lack. And the wine? Well, for one, God loves a celebration to last a good long while. Eternity never leaves His mind.
But sometimes I wonder if this saying is also true: “Some people can be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.” I hope not, but we can spend a lot of time talking about God, learning about God, and even thinking about and praying to God but still find it hard to invite a neighbor over for a cup of tea. “Crazy busy” may well be an excuse, but it’s not a good one. When “the house” and stuff like decorating, dogs and shopping lists become the gauge for frittering away our days, we do well to remember the time when Jesus stuck His head into the kitchen:
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered,
“you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
-Luke 10:41-42 (NIV)
Let’s learn the lesson here. Jesus wasn’t implying that hospitality was irrelevant. He was letting Martha know that priorities give off a flavor all their own. The difference between preparing a simple meal in a spirit of love and prayer and a lavish spread simmering in fury is evident to all. What goes on in the kitchen is tantamount to what happens in the prayer room, but things go best when the latter serves the former. After all, Mary and Martha were sisters, and probably very good for each other.
From Scripture, we know that God is a God Who ministers to the whole man. And I think it’s reasonable to say that He intends for us to have a prayer life and supper ready. Study His Word and get the laundry done. All in the same day. But to what end, ultimately?
Perhaps to feed and still a hungry crowd, one person at a time.
That’s why I don’t want to know my neighbors only from afar. I want to get close, look in their eyes, breathe the same air, listen to their story, tend their wounds if they’re willing. I want to feed them, pour something hot for them to drink when it’s cold outside, something fizzy over ice when blazing. Talk a while. Tell them about my Jesus.
So often, before I’m aware of what’s happening, before I even mention His Name, I’m inviting them in.
And I’m learning that a cup of tea and a little sympathy goes a long way when bread is offered, too.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Author’s Commentary: Certain attributes of God, such as holy, righteous and majestic, often take precedence in our minds over the rest, if only for their “otherness.” For He alone is holy, righteous, and majestic. However, it’s important to acknowledge His many other attributes and understand that they are no less important. Based solely on Scripture, both generosity and hospitality also belong on the list of His divine attributes. As we allow a theology of generosity and hospitality to broaden our thinking, we learn to make them accessible, as Scripture exhorts us to practice such. These virtues not only adorn the Christian lifestyle, they’re pleasing sacrifices to God, bringing Him pleasure and much glory. Approaching this topic from a whole Bible theology, we discover that generosity and hospitality are practical expressions of thanksgiving, demonstrating grace to others and reverence for God’s holy Presence.
Don’t forget to check the resources’ page and sign in for the giveaway at the end of the month.
Are you just tuning in?
Read what this series is all about here.
Consider sharing the goodness…