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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Serving up a Helping of Hospitality

With the holidays rapidly approaching, many of us are hustling and bustling in order to have our homes picture perfect for various gatherings. If you are like me, this may even involve some conflict...between you and your man as he wonders where in the world your sanity has gone. Why, oh why, he wonders, must you spit shine the floor? And clean compulsively until seconds before company arrives?

Now listen up ladies...he may have a point.

You see, as women, we often let our view of hospitality become jaded by the world. We forget that fellowship is the key, not a fancy meal or a perfect home. We tend to be just like Martha.

In Luke 10:38-42, we find the familiar story of two sisters from Bethany, one consumed with the "fixins" and one consumed with fellowship.

"As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."

Like many of us, Martha had a heart for hospitality. If she didn't, she wouldn't have welcomed Jesus into her home. But she became distracted by the details. She took her eyes off her Savior and placed them on her circumstances. And then she began to whine about the work involved in ministering to her precious Jesus. Satan stole an opportunity that was intended to bless her and robbed her of her joy.

Thankfully, Jesus loved Martha enough to gently rebuke her. He reminded her that Mary had discovered the most important thing....fellowship with Him. Sitting and His feet and soaking up every life-giving word that flowed from her Savior's mouth. Basking in His presence. Experiencing the fullness of His love. Knowing that it would not be taken from her.

This holiday season, I pray that you and I, like Mary, will remember that it's all about relationships. Let's not become distracted by the details, but instead examine our motives and purify our hearts so that we are able to joyfully extend hospitality to others.


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