Encouragement for Small Group Host
It's a beautiful sunny, spring day. The front porch is calling my name as is my new book and a cup of coffee. It's one of those days where you see yourself doing whatever comes. Oh, but wait - today is Wednesday. It's the night our Gospel Community Group meets and it's at my house!! Immediately, I realize all the things I need to accomplish before my friends arrive. The list in my head begins to grow. There are the bathrooms (ugh) that need to be cleaned. Dishes need to be washed and put away. Floors are screaming to be vacuumed and mopped. The bed should probably get made today (not a regular bed maker). Guess I'll dust the furniture just in case there's a white glove person in the group... oh, yeah, I need to make refreshments.. got to go get coffee creamer... and the list grows by the minute.
So.. the nice little escape on the front porch is forgotten. I guzzle the remains of my breakfast coffee and start in on the list of "to dos." If I'm not careful, I'll forget why I'm doing this. Yeah... just why am I doing this? Why is it of importance or necessary that I open up my home to others? Is it really beneficial for me to take the time to prepare for the comfort of someone else when I could be at Hobby Lobby? (for the 5th time this week)
People are God's chosen possessions. They desire to be loved, valued and understood. People hurt and suffer. They laugh and rejoice. They seek forgiveness and need repentance. Jesus loves people so much that He died for them. Preparing a home to share with others does take time, energy, and money. But it does not even compare to the return of blessing and joy that is given. When I work to prepare our home for others, I am preparing it for Christ, as well; for it is His Spirit that arrives to meet the needs of my guests. By opening up my home, I get to experience close-up and personal my friend's joys and struggles. I am able to rejoice with them. I am able to cry with them. We are together requesting God's Spirit to give us all we need to live this life and to live it well for His Glory.
So cleaning the toilet and mopping the floors become a spiritual discipline for me. Doing this creates Kingdom benefits, yes..but many right-here, right-now benefits as well. My faith is strengthened when I pray with my brothers and sisters. I'm encouraged as I hear their victories in Christ. I'm challenged to dig deeper into God's word and prepare my heart. This fuels my spirit and grounds my walk.
For me, what happens on those Wednesday gatherings is exactly why I prepare my home. When I value what God values, I'm content. The lazy spring day coffee with the book has no joy for me without the Wednesday work and the blessing of sharing Christ with others whom He loves.
John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and share with others for with such sacrifices God is pleased.