Monday, January 23, 2012

The Power of a Welcome

Welcomes are conveyed in all different ways; with a smile, a word or a touch.  A smile expressed to a passing stranger as you’re walking to work can convey gladness in the moment.  A ‘hello’ to the checkout person at the grocery store can turn what would otherwise be a dull routine for that person into a refreshingly joyful moment.  A handshake as a way of greeting a business associate at the start of a business meeting conveys contact and a willingness to engage.  

All of these simple expressions are congenial ways to welcome people into a small space of time in our day – these times make up much of life.  In fact, I contend, that it is in precisely these times that the overall quality of our lives are expressed each day.  The way you treat people in the everyday, mundane events of the day that reflect who we are in Christ.  Moreover, how we express that love toward others and how welcoming we are as individuals as we live in this earthly home is a living testimony of Grace. 

Paul wrote in the Book of Philemon, “I always thank God when I am praying for you, dear Philemon, because I keep hearing of your love and trust in the Lord Jesus and in his people.  And I pray that as you share your faith with others it will grip their lives, too as they see the wealth of good things in you that come from Jesus Christ. I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”  Philemon 1:4-7 TLB

As Christians we are encouraged to be hospitable people.  Offering hospitality (home stay) to a fellow Christian on their journey is, in a very practical sense, a powerful way of extending oneself for the sake of another. 

Toward a practical end, giving our fellow co-laborers in Christ a place to rest whilst undertaking ministry travel encourages them to be good stewards as their travel expenses are reduced.  But the real power comes before the guest even arrives when we lift up the traveler in prayer and ask for God’s will to be done in the life of this person while they are there for the conference or church visit. 

The JOY comes from participating in and experiencing God through what happens over these few days.  Perspectives are opened.  Visions are cast.  Life is purposeful.  Missions are formed.  Friendships made… all through the power of a welcome.

Karen Frisella

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