Hospitality is not from the hands; it's from the heart
Play On! Scenes from the Film of my Life
By Nancy Samra
I have come to realize God is at work in my life beyond my expectations. He is an out-of-the-box God and when I encountered Him nothing was ever the same again. When He comes to us, he calls us to a new vision, a new way, a new dream. He has no problem interrupting our ordinary lives with a call to the extraordinary. And He expects us to loosen our grip on our plans, our desires, and our dreams and take on His. And when we do, it’s like being on a crazy roller-coaster ride with Jesus beside you.
Here’s my story….
SCENE 1: I came to know the Lord at a neighborhood Bible study. It was held at a church near my home but it was this church’s first outreach into the community. On Wednesday mornings the only people from the church were the group leaders, assistants
and the child care workers. They had their own church women’s Bible study on Tuesday mornings.
The church targeted neighborhoods around the church and put flyers in everyone’s mailbox. The free childcare definitely drew me in. I had a rambunctious child named Jim and was eager for a break!
Very religious and working my way into heaven, I would have never listened to someone witness to me. God in His grace used a non-threatening Bible Study in my neighborhood on the Gospel of John to introduce me to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lesson Learned: A prayerful willingness to provide a nonthreatening environment to enable people to get into Scripture is all that is needed—Our amazing God can do the rest.
SCENE 2: Both my husband and I had become believers and found ourselves in a new church where we were growing. Reaching out to invite people into our home for Bible study was a foreign concept to me. However, the church was asking people to volunteer their homes and invite people from the neighborhood to attend two meetings where the pastor would do a walk thru of the Old and New Testament. They would provide the invitations and we just filled in the date, time and our address. My husband insisted we sign up for one of the slots.
One evening we had just settled the kids down when the doorbell rang. It was a couple from church
dropping off our set of invitations. Instead of just taking the invitations from them, my husband invited them in. I excused myself to go into the kitchen, put on some coffee, and come up with something to serve. To appreciate this, you have to understand my Middle Eastern background and that culture's attitude toward hospitality. I had not been to the store that week and the cupboard was bare. I stood in the pantry desperately praying, "Dear God, a raisin, a graham cracker, a marshmallow--please let me come up with something to serve." Words will never convey the desperation I felt as I begged God for a miracle.
Just then the doorbell rang again. There stood a friend of mine with a warm apple pie. She told me she was going to bring it the next day as a thank you but then decided to bring it while it was still warm. Definitely a miracle and answer to my prayer.
The next morning, as I was once again profusely thanking God for that pie, He said to me. "Pay attention. I won't be doing this again. I understood your need last night but this is not a true need. Hospitality comes from the heart not the hands. You can make anyone feel welcome in your home regardless of whether you serve food or not."
Lesson learned: Hospitality is not from our hands; it’s from the heart. Making people feel warm and welcomed does not require food. A necessary lesson because when the meetings were over some of the couples wanted to continue meeting for Bible study and George offered our home. I agreed because I did not have to prepare refreshments!
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!
Grateful for you,
for the NBS2go team
This is touching and funny because the first thing that ALWAYS runs through me mind is, "what am I going to serve?" when my husband wants to invite people over! I will eagerly await Part Two to see what God has to say about this. I suppose one answer could be "serve them Jesus1'