I sat with a group of people that I had "known" for years. This group had people that were mostly older than me. We may have a few things in common and saw each other maybe once a week. I looked at these familiar faces and asked them if they had ever invited me over to their home. Then I asked them to look at each other and wanted to know if they have ever invited the person next to them over to their home. Then I asked them if I had ever invited any of them to my home. In all three cases, the answer was "no". The look on their faces as they pondered these questions, was of amazement. Here we saw each other occasionally, but we had never gone above and beyond that.
Why? Well, for one reason, we see enough of each other outside of our homes, right? We also each have our own set of friends that we enjoy spending time with. Thirdly, we are so busy! Many have full-time jobs, church, and all those extra activities we spend time doing throughout our week. One last excuse I heard was they didn't invite anyone over...ever! They may not think their house is big enough, or clean enough. Maybe they don't like to cook and would feel uncomfortable having a person come over and just serve them take-out.
Let me tell you a story my husband told me. One time when he was young, his dad invited their church's pastor over for dinner. Travis' family were surprised that he even had time to come over since they assumed he was invited out all the time..after all, he was the Pastor! As they sat to eat their meal, this statement was expressed to their special guest. Do you know what his response was? That was the first time he had ever been invited over to someone's house!
In this world we are so busy going from one activity to another that we have no time left for each other. When I first started attending our church, two couples that were slightly older than me invited me over to their home. They didn't live in a mansion, they didn't have lobster tail with fancy red roasted potatoes, but they cared enough to invite us. We sat at their living room table just talking for a couple of hours. That gesture meant so much to us! Even though we felt invisible in that big church, they saw us and wanted to get to know us! So, ok, maybe you have a small house, and maybe you hate to cook, and maybe you struggle with being outgoing yourself and never ever invite anyone to invade your space. Is this the kind of feelings that God wants us to have? If we consume ourselves with doubt and fear that we are not good enough, then we are at a standstill which is where the devil wants us!
In the Bible it talks about how Jesus would go around and spend time with those less fortunate. It would anger others because if Jesus was holy, why would He spend time with such riff raff. He befriended Matthew and Zacchaeus, the "tax collectors" and had the nerve to go to their house!! He acknowledged the woman at the well who had too many men and sin in her life to be counted worthy enough to be in the presence of one so Holy. Yet, He took the time to tell her about salvation...and yet He takes the time for us. But, we are so much more holy, right? We never do anything wrong and He would be welcome anytime in our too small, disorganized home?
Let's step out of our comfort zone! In March our church is doing "March Gladness". We are suppose to try to find someone that we can be a blessing to. Start praying that God will bring the right people before you to bless, and be prepared to get stretched. If you are not moving forward you are standing still and as others move ahead, you fall behind. If you feel your house is not worthy, I guarantee that lonely family that has never been invited out will not care! If you don't have one single cooking gene in your body, grab some pizza and share your time over your living room table; I know for a fact that those parents with young kids needing a moment of adult conversation and guidance won't care. All they want from you is love, time, and a little "hospitality".
Matt 9:9-13 "When Jesus was leaving, he saw a man named Matthew sitting in the tax collector's booth. Jesus said to him, 'Follow me,' and he stood up and followed Jesus. As Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collector's and 'sinners' came and ate with Jesus and His followers. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked Jesus' followers, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When Jesus heard them, he said, 'It is not the healthy people who need a doctor, but the sick. Go and learn what this means. I want kindness more than I want animal sacrifices. I did not come to invite good people but to invite sinners."