I was reading this morning in Romans 12 and when I got to verses 12-13, the words written there stung a bit. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
This was my kick in the britches for today. You see, God has been providing some amazing opportunities to follow through on these two verses. I would like to say that I have been wonderfully obedient, joyful, patient, prayerful and hospitable in all of these opportunities. But, that would also push me into the sin of lying, so I will choose not to go there! Last week was a hard week. Ray Don was out of town from Monday to Friday. The great freeze of 2011 hit and we were home bound all week long. Just a long week. My temper was short with the kids, with Ray Don, and with myself. Needless to say, my biggest downfall was there was a lot of the week being focused on me, and not on Jesus.
We have been given an opportunity to have some precious young guests to stay with us for a night next week while they are traveling through town. Keep in mind, these are children. However, I started looking at everything I don't have (materialistically), instead of what I do have, and feeling ill-equipped to host them, let alone anyone else. The "mess" of my life has been hanging over me. Broken microwave, ice maker, Hunter just pulled his wooden blinds down and broke them, newly noticed cracks in not one, but both of my leather sofas, a garage door that is threatening to fall apart any day, a crack in the tile in the kids/guest bathroom... should I go on? Oh, woe is me. As I begin to focus on all of these things that seem to be unacceptable, or the equivalent to a blemish in my life, I find myself feeling unworthy of having guests in my home. I become Martha. I am worried about the house being clean, the food being tasty, the conversation flowing, the activities planned. Instead, I should be sitting at the feet of Jesus in awe of the great opportunities he is putting in front of me...opportunities to grow in Him, and more importantly, serve his people!
These verses are a great reminder that there is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is completely dependent on circumstances, people, and things. Stuff. But, joy...that is something completely different. Joy is deeply embedded into our being, if you are a Christ follower, that stems from the hope we have in knowing that this life is NOT as good as it gets! We have a joy that comes from personally knowing our Savior. And, the great thing is, that when our gaze is fixed upon Jesus, and not our problems, the patience in our troubles and the faithfulness in prayers just fall into place out of natural obedience! But then...and this is so awesome, we can openly and willingly put into practice what we are called to do in the next verse...Practice Hospitality. I love the note in my study bible on this verse:
Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host-the home must be spotless, the food must be well prepared and abundant, the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests. Their needs-whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance-are the primary concern. Hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup. Don't hesistate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.
Wow. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to discipline me through your Word. I have needed a good spat on the backside for my attitude this past week. So, with discipline comes revelation, and all of this is said to share this ~
Thank you Jesus for showing me through what I don't have or is broken in my life to remind me what I do have! Thank you for the reminder of the brokenness you have repaired and made whole in me!
I am truly grateful for my husband who at least has a job, even though it takes him from us sometimes a week at a time. I am grateful for the privilege of being able to homeschool my two youngest which allowed us to stay home and off the streets this week. I am grateful for a small second microwave we are using until we have the funds to get our built-in repaired (for the second time). I am grateful for the fact that when Hunter broke his nice blinds, he chose a blanket that says "God is my Strength-Psalm 27:1-The Lord is my strength, Whom then shall I fear?" to hang up until we get new ones. And I am grateful that God is allowing me to learn what true hospitality is this next week by sending some precious visitors to our home in spite of the messiness of my life.
I am mostly grateful that Jesus loves me...in spite of me!!