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.