From Pastor Tim — My parents were great models of hospitality for me and my siblings as I grew up. They weren’t “super-hero hosts” by any means, but they always seemed willing to open up their lives to others.
For example, I remember my family hosting various exchange students, and also having people who were “down on their luck” stay with us until they were ready to be on their own again.
The hosting that happened in my family wasn’t always restricted to our home though. My father was a business man, and I remember him continuously opening up his office to strangers and friends who needed help. He often gave away money, furniture or even offered jobs to people that needed some help. At times, people took advantage of the help that was given, but that never seemed to deter my parents from reaching out to others again.
There was one particular instance of hospitality that will forever be an impact upon my life. Our church was hosting a singing group that was composed of men who were in a Christian rehabilitation center. Two of these men stayed in our home.
It’s been twenty years since my parents hosted these men, and I can no longer remember their names or even picture their faces in my mind. They shared their testimony, but I can now only remember bits and pieces of what they shared about their personal lives.
What I do remember is sitting around our kitchen table, snacking on treats my mom had prepared, and going through Psalm 119 verse by verse. Truth be told, I might have preferred to talk about sports or even about the drugs and alcohol that the Lord had rescued them from, but these two men felt it was important to open up the Scriptures in our presence.
I can still recall them reading from Psalm 119:9-11 which says,
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
As we read these words, they challenged me with some very pointed questions. The questions made me squirm, but they also led me to consider whether I had truly made God’s Word paramount in my life. For example, they asked me if I struggled with lust and if I read my Bible every day. And now 20 years later, I am still often reminded of Psalm 119 and their challenge to me that day.
Why? Because of the faithfulness of my parents to continually open up their home. My call into ministry was in part, because my parents hosted these two men. But it was also because of the faithfulness of these men to open up the Scriptures instead of simply chit-chatting about the weather.
There were a few Works of Mercy at work on that day. The Work of Mercy of Opening Your Home was exemplified by my parents, and the Work of Mercy of Visiting and Remembering was lived out by these two men. I’m sure that no one thought that they were doing anything particularly special, and yet these simple acts made an eternal impact in my life and in the Kingdom of God.