Thursday, November 12, 2015

Positive Acts - Hospitality Anyone?

"And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage" (Acts 28:13-15).

Hospitality is a lost art within the church. This probably has to do with the way our culture has changed over the past fifty years or so. While folks used to sit out on the front porch, they now generally spend time secluded on the back patio or inside in front of the T.V. People just do not get together as much as they used to. This cultural change has impacted the way the church interacts internally. Hospitality in general is not what it once was.

In Acts 28 we see hospitable believers. Paul was on his voyage to Rome. After much struggle, including a shipwreck, Paul had almost arrived. This is the setting when we read 28:13-15. Paul's team had come to Puteoli. They were likely in need of help. They met some Christians for the first time. What did these believers do? They allowed Paul and his friends to stay with them for a week. That is impressive. I wonder if I would be willing to take strangers, even if they were brothers, into my house for a full week with no time to prepare for them.

After this, Paul's group headed to Rome. Believers there came to meet Paul. Luke tells us that Paul "thanked God and took courage." Under the circumstances Paul would most likely have this response because he knew these brothers would offer assistance. We can surmise that these Romans acted much like the brothers in Puteoli had. They offered some form of hospitality.

We should learn much from these early believers. Even with no advance notice they provided for brothers in need, opening up their homes to them. For someone like me this is a great challenge. How would I respond in a similar situation? How would you?

1 comment:

abmo said...

I believe it comes down to the Kingdom of God and our perspective on it. Does the Kingdom of God encompass our homes? If you say yes, is it then still your home, your car, your computer, your time, your finances? Or does it all belong to God? There is a definite decision to be made here. So, if your house and stuff is God's, usually then, it becomes a place of love and sharing. We came to a decision in 2000 and have opened our home to be a place of rest. Sometimes it means taking people in who have lost everything. Most of the time it is a place where people come to rest. For example a gay friend struggling with depression, a friend who lost her dad. A child struggling with maths. A young man who is starting his career. It is also a place for parties :-) We have people over on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes people come over to use our Wi-Fi. We do not lock the doors. This means that we come home and find friends waiting for us. Because of our busy lives, opening our home seemed the best way to show the love of Jesus. It is not always fun and games but mostly it is worth it :-)