I recently read Rob Parson’s book Bringing Home the Prodigals for a blog tour post (read my entire review here), and I was surprised at how much of the book resonated with me. One thought in particular remains floating around in my brain. Parson says:
The incredible things is not that Jesus ate with sinners – you’d expect the one who came to save the lost to do that. No, the incredible thing is that the sinners ate with Jesus.
Does my hospitality extend past people I already know and like? Am I the type of person who seems inviting to the unloved, the lonely, the exiled, the misunderstood, the untrustworthy? Do they feel welcome around me because I am not judgmental and treat them as people? People whom God loves?
People are not stupid. They can tell when my hospitality is not genuine and my kind words are forced. They might endure eating with me – but do they want to join me at the table? Today, I’m not sure who would really want to eat with me.
I’m struck by this picture of a man who attracted all types of people – sinners and self-righteous alike. In him they saw hope and unconditional love, not condemnation and judgment. And of all people, he certainly had the right to condemn and judge! This is a characteristic I want to embody. This is the culture I want to grow in my home: true hospitality.
The only way I know how to do this is to strive every day to be more and more like him, asking him to help me see those around me as he sees them. To love the things he loves, to hate the things he hates, to weep over the things that make him weep, and to rejoice over the things which bring him joy.
How about you? Who would eat with you?