Eagerly Welcoming Folks into the Kingdom
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
The glory of God and the love within His church shows the brightest in giving and receiving hospitality. In one sense, that was part of the Jesus’ message when He washed the disciples feet at the last supper. When He told them to do to one another what He had just done, we know He wasn’t literally opening a pedicure spa.
Paul’s eagerness to visit and to be received by the Roman church is a great attitude to have for every visitor, but it was reflected by their anticipation of him coming to see them. In a time before podcasts and written messages (except for a letter or two) the best way to hear from someone was to host them for a visit.
When people come and visit our campuses, we can show them that same give and receive hospitality. It’s not just that we have something to offer every single person that comes through our doors — they also have a splendid gift to give us! They are unique and wonderful in and of themselves! Who knows who might be the next person to visit our church?
Paul talks in Ephesians about how we have apostles, pastors, teachers, prophets, and evangelists in the Church to build it up. Each one of those people (unless they were born here, I guess) had to come to church for the first time. Each one of those people came in our doors wondering what kind of place this was and what kind of people we’d be.
Let’s be those kind of people! Let’s be happy to be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith. As people come in that are spiritually mature, let’s learn from them. As people come in that are new to following Jesus, let’s be encouraged by what we can teach them. As people come in that are hurting and beat down, let’s see God’s strength serve them with our own hands.
There is a harvest of encouragement in God’s Kingdom living in every neighborhood around us and our church. Let’s preach it and get to know these awesome people all around us waiting to be a bigger part of God’s kingdom.