Every Sunday morning we meet for a little Hospitality ministry pre-service prayer meeting. Each person serving on the team that morning is invited to participate, and the hope is that it would be a time to cast vision for the morning, give any information or changes, and pray over the morning. My hope is that even that short little prayer time would begin to shift our mindsets, help us die to ourselves a little more, and see Christ all the more clearly.
In each of those prayer meetings I pray, “God, give us your eyes, ears, and your hands to see, love and care for those we meet today” (or something along those lines). I had no intention of repeating this prayer weekly, but each time it would come out of my mouth, and I truly think God has used that small sentence to teach me more and more about true hospitality.
True hospitality isn’t asking God to make us nicer, friendlier, open, humble, or servant-like. True hospitality is conforming to the likeness of Jesus! The more we conform and take on the person of Christ, the more we will actually be nicer, friendlier, open, humble, and servant-like. Those traits are not naturally in us, and therefore we can only muster them up for so long.
What does it mean when we pray, “God, give us your eyes, your ears, and your hands to see, love, and care for those we meet today?” I think it has two practical meanings for us today:
First, if you are a follower of Christ then you are part of the body of Christ. What does it mean to be a part of the body of Christ? It means that we are a visual representation of Christ to the world around us: believers and unbelievers alike. The person of Jesus, God in flesh, carried with him every godly characteristic, trait, and personality. He contained every gift fully and did not lack in any area. However, we are sinful, fallen, broken, and lacking in every area of our life. But, God has uniquely gifted each of us so that when we work together in unity, we actually make up the fullness of Christ. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds the believers that each one of them is gifted, needs one another, and is called to serve one other. He tells them, “Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Therefore, when we pray that prayer, we are not actually asking to have the eyes, ear, and hands of God, but we are asking God to use us to look, act, and think like him!
Secondly, we, as believers, need to know Christ and the way he loved and served people. There is a lot of assumption in Christianity about the way Jesus acted, or would act in a certain situation. Have you ever heard of W.W.J.D.? Everyone is curious about what Jesus would do, but very few of us actually go to the source. If we want to pray, “God give me your eyes, your ears, and your hands,” we need to know exactly what Jesus did with those eyes, ears, and hands. The only place that we will find this information is in the Bible. If we are going to be hospitable in a way that reflects our God, we must be a people saturated with the Word of God. Until we are enveloped by God’s Word and the life of Jesus we will merely be acting on our own ideals of what Jesus should do. Hospitality starts with knowing God!
Please, join me in praying this prayer of hospitality. But, more than anything may God use our gifts in the body of Christ and ultimately the Word of God and the Word made flesh, Jesus, to shape us into the truly hospitable people He has called and created us to be.