Hospitality. Even the word makes my heart warm and my mouth water.
Paul schlepped thousands of miles on his journeys around the Meditterean. He was spreading the gospel, when he wasn't getting interogated or the living daylights beat out of him.
Paul experienced the antithesis of hospitality in the hostility and harsh conditions he frequently had to endure. Perhaps that's why the author of Acts made sure to include accounts of the evangelism team receiving hospitality.
When they got to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were graciously received by the whole church, including the apostles and leaders. They reported on their recent journey and how God had used them to open things up to the outsiders.
Acts 15:4 MSG
I wonder if that's how Paul and Barnabas felt on their Jerusalem visit. During those brief, shining moments everyone played nice and loved on each other every way they could. After all, isn't that what hospitality is? Showing others they are cared for and about?
(Lydia) and all the people living in her house were baptized. Then she invited us into her home. She said, “If you think I am a true believer in the Lord Jesus, come stay in my house.” She persuaded us to stay with her.
Acts 16:15 ERV
Here's an interesting thought about Lydia. Either she had guests on a regular basis, cleaned on regular basis, or just stayed ready.
Lydia didn't ask Paul and his posse to come next week, or give her time to run by the market first. "She persuaded" the travelers to come.
I'm certainly not going to turn someone away at the door. Sadly, I'm probably not going to try and talk folks at church into coming home with us. That makes me wonder if I treat Jesus with the same kind of hospitality.
Dear Reader, sometimes I think I have to figure out a problem before I ask Jesus to bless the outcome. Maybe instead of trying to "get ready" for the Lord to intervene in my life, I should pray for a heart of hospitality like Lydia's. And just think, Dear Reader, God may have a Paul on the way to your corner of the world right now.