There we found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. Acts 28:14
The weekend before I was to start working at Lighthouse UMC, I went to a monastery for prayer and reflection. At first it seemed like I was making reservations at the Holy Hilton. I was able to book it online, make my donation with a credit card, and let them know how many meals I'd be eating there.
When I got there, it took a while for the Holy Hilton feeling to go away. Although my room had no TV and I had to share a common bathroom, it still had commercial looking furniture and linens. As I went down for my first meal, I realized how different things were. After I got past the "no talking" part of the journey, I looked around to discover that I was sharing a meal with the monks who lived there. This was their home and they opened it up to other people who were seeking a place for reflection and discovery.
Hospitality has changed greatly over the years. We can no longer just show up on cousin Becca's doorstep and say "Hey! I'm your 4th cousin twice removed." and expect them to open the doors to you. These days, you'd want a background check just to return an email from a curious cousin researching genealogy just to make sure they weren't trying to suck you into the donating to Africa scam.
Even with our skepticism and security concerns, I don't feel that hospitality is a lost art. There are people that I have met that I'm pretty sure would make me feel more comfortable in my own home. You know - they type that can make a convenience store bathroom look welcoming if you gave them 5 minutes?
So for all of you out there who go out of your way to make others feel welcome, I thank you. You never know if your hospitality to someone else can make the difference in spreading the good news.
Until Everyone Hears,