Heart of Hospitality

Emillie Clayton • March 16, 2024

As we wrap up renovations for our welcome space, I recognize that though this space will become more esthetically pleasing and functional for welcoming members and visitors and provide for increased fellowship, that alone will not bring about the efforts of welcoming people in our community the way Jesus Christ welcomes us. We can only do this well by opening our eyes, opening our hearts, and opening our schedules like Jesus Christ.

Jesus had open eyes to see people. There is a difference between looking at people and seeing people. Seeing people requires time and thought. We must slow down enough in our lives to see people and maybe see brokenness, hurt, loss, joy, or peace. When we truly see someone, we can connect. There are countless stories in the gospels of Jesus seeing people. In Matthew 9:18-26, Jesus is on his way to Jairus’ house because his daughter has died. While he and his disciples were walking, Matthew 9:20 says, “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.” Jesus saw this woman and her desperation. He had compassion for her. He made her well. May we really see the people that walk through our doors and into our lives.

Jesus had an open heart to know people. Jesus called his disciples into ministry and close relationship with him, but he built relationships with countless other people throughout his ministry. Luke 8:1-3 talks about the women that accompanied Jesus and the disciples, there were others that followed him too. In Luke 19:1-9, Jesus sees Zacchaeus and invites himself to Zacchaeus’ house. Through that encounter and Jesus’ love, the tax collector was saved and repented. The meaningful encounters that Jesus has with people he meets through the gospels go beyond surface conversations. These conversations require compassion and honesty. May we seek to know the people that walk through our doors and lives enough to have meaningful conversations that lead to truth, grace, and salvation.

Jesus’ ministry was one of movement and interruption. While there were specific cities and towns that Jesus was going to, scripture references constant disruptions on his journeys. Luke, Mark, Matthew, and John all record the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Luke’s account talks about Jesus taking the disciples with him and trying to slip away. They tried to retreat, rest, and mourn the death of John the Baptist. In Luke 9:11, the writer says, “but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed healing.” Though Jesus was consistently interrupted, each time he is stopped, we recognize each encounter proves as a significant part of his work and ministry. May we hold our schedule lightly and not miss the opportunities to minister to those that walk through our door and lives.

Jesus loved people well because he saw them, he knew them, and he made time for them. He is the perfect model of hospitality. While it would be a challenge to copy or replicate how he practiced hospitality, with the Holy Spirit, we can have a heart of hospitality which produces opportunities to share in his ministry. I am convicted of this frequently because I know that Jesus Christ does this for me every day. He sees me every moment of every day, he intentionally seeks me out and draws me into a relationship with him, and he invites me in and provides for me on my very best and my very worst days. I am praying that God grows a beautiful hospitality ministry at Rockford Reformed Church. I am eager and expectant for all that he will do.

As a church, we have functional ways to practice hospitality.

  • We need coffee makers.

  • We need greeters.

  • We need ushers.

I am so grateful for people serving in those areas!

We also need people who do not fit an assignment role but have a heart of hospitality.

  • We need members who are looking for new people on a Sunday morning, at Focal Point, at the Egg Hunt, and other events.

  • We need members who are intentional on a Sunday morning to seek out specific individuals to build relationships.

  • We need members who have a large meal in a crockpot at home so they can freely invite someone over after church.

  • We need to hear stories of how God is working though our members in ministry.

Please email me if you want to learn more about any of the above, meet for coffee, and/or join a group or team that wants to be inspired and encouraged at emillie@rockfordrc.org.

Rockford Reformed Church
4890 11 Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341

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