September 2020

Open Heart

We had friends in our home for dinner last night, and my husband and I are still enjoying the afterglow of good food, precious fellowship and delightful conversation. I have to say that hospitality has not always come naturally to me, and maybe that’s because it is, I believe, primarily a spiritual gift. An open heart and an open home are in the very nature of God. Has He not sent His Son in order to bring us home? He opened His heart to us by sending Jesus, the express radiance of Himself, and He is preparing a place for us in His heavenly home, if we believe Him.

It was my mother who first introduced me to the reality that faith is required for a gathering. Planning and preparation become part of the joy of gathering when entered into with faith. Blessing begets blessing, and joy overflows in the hearts of those who delight in loving one another. Hospitality is a love language, and the home becomes a context for that expression when the door is open wide with the intention to bless and the conviction that God will bless.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NASB) When I invite someone into my home, I can be assured in my hope that they will be blessed, and I can be convinced that all the intangible delights of soul and spirit will manifest and be seen in the expression of the Great Unseen, Jesus Christ and His love, in us.

Another translation of the verse in Hebrews uses the word “evidence” in the place of “conviction”, and there is nothing more precious to me than the evidence of a good party after the last guest is ushered out with warm embrace and the charge to “Take care.” I stand in the midst of stacks of dishes littered with remnants of food and sauces, glasses with finger prints on them, crumbs of cookies clinging to table tops, and crumpled napkins that fell from beloved fingers. This evidence serves to remind me that blessing was bestowed and shared and sent forth into the night. My husband and I will be happy as we clean and remember to one another the funny story, the turn of phrase, the thoughtful discussion, and we’ll pray for our friends and be grateful for them.

Does all of this sound a trifle frivolous? Am I trying to make something so very human into something so very spiritual? Maybe, but I cannot help but remember that Jesus was often in the homes of others, reclining at table and sharing a meal, and I am convinced that His presence in those places changed things, changed them. Where brothers (and sisters) dwell together, there He commands a blessing. (Psalm 133 NASB).

Some weeks ago, I shared “The Blessing” by Kari Jobe, and it continues to minister to me and to others in powerful ways. This symphonic version of that song by Passion City Church is also anointed, and I trust that as you listen and worship, you will receive the blessing of God and remember that you are called to bless and to be a blessing.

Until next week, beloved, open your heart and your home and look for opportunities to extend hospitality and blessing.

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