Primary purpose of a home

I neglected to note where I saw this, but I rediscovered in my files this morning something that I saved from last year that touched my heart. It is from Slice of Infinity with Ravi Zacharias (and let me hasten to say this is not a full endorsement of the site of or Zacharias. I have liked what few things I have heard or read of his, but I haven’t really fully checked out his ministry or doctrinal stance yet).

This spoke to me because I have to admit hospitality is an area where I often fail. Life is just so busy that especially on special days I want to close the door on the rest of the world and just enjoy the time with family, especially as my kids are getting older and I know that those times of having everyone all together will grow fewer as they grow up and leave home. But this convicted me. It’s certainly not wrong to have treasured times just with the family, but our hearts can make idols out of even the good gifts God gives us.

Some years ago, we were spending Christmas in the home of my wife’s parents. It was not a happy day in the household…

Yet, in the midst of all that, my mother-in-law kept her routine habit of asking people who would likely have no place to go at Christmas to share Christmas dinner with us. That year she invited a man who was, by everyone’s estimate, somewhat of an odd person, quite eccentric in his demeanor.

It fell upon me, in turn, to entertain this gentleman. I must confess that I did not appreciate it. Owing to a heavy life of travel year-round, I have jealously guarded my Christmases as time to be with my family. This was not going to be such a privilege, and I was not happy.

As I sat in the living room, entertaining him while others were busy, I thought to myself, “This is going to go down as one of the most miserable Christmases of my life.”

But somehow we got through the evening.

At the end of the night when he bade us all good-bye, he reached out and took the hand of each of us, one by one, and said, “Thank you for the best Christmas of my life. I will never forget it.”

He walked out into the dark, snowy night, back into his solitary existence. My heart sank in self-indictment at those tender words of his.

That year the Lord taught me a lesson. The primary purpose of a home is to reflect and to distribute the love of Christ.

Anything that usurps that is idolatrous.

8 thoughts on “Primary purpose of a home

  1. What a great reminder! I like to listen to Ravi sometimes too on the radio. One year when we lived in Maryland, and we were full-time at a church, we had no where to go for Christmas, and a family invited us over. It was the sweetest time!

  2. This is just what Jesus was talking about in the 25th chapter of Matthew. One of my spiritul gifts is hospitality.
    Recently when I was reading the book, The Nativity Story, I spoke to J about this. Joseph and Mary set off on their journey expecting to find shelter with like minded Jews. When strangers stopped at the town’s communal well, apparently, it was usual for someone to ask the strangers to spend the night in their home.
    I know when my grandfather’s family moved from Georgia to Alabama, they spent the night in a stranger’s barn. This was not uncommon even then. We’ve become afraid to ask strangers into our home and with good reason. These people had little of value but were willing to share what they had. We have become too attached to our “stuff”.
    If I were home for Christmas, I know of a few people who are alone that I could invite over. J’s family has their gatheriing in a community house every year. I have invited my sister who will be alone and my foster daughter and her family. Other family members will feel welcomed to invite people they know in the same situation.
    I think anytime we serve someone less fortunate than ourselves, we will be richly blessed because of it.
    Mama Bear

  3. Pingback: Mary’s virginity « Stray Thoughts

  4. Pingback: Christmasy links « Stray Thoughts

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