Last night at our church we were looking at the end of Hebrews. The writer challenges his readers to live out the ‘new perspective’ (that should get some google hits!) they have. Looking to Jesus, suffering as he did, looking to the new city will mean we’ll do crazy things like entertain strangers and associate with the outcasts of society (in Hebrews, those in prison).

As we were talking it struck me how much of  a ‘big’ thing it is for us in our culture to really follow this through. Clearly it was a big enough thing at the time Hebrews was written too, or else the writer wouldn’t have needed to encourage them to do it. But in our very individualistic culture it is a MASSIVE thing!

To entertain family is one thing (and for some suffering enough!) but to entertain strangers is something no sensible person would do. Imagine if the person turned out to be a drug user and stole some money. Well that is indeed a danger. Some people in one of the other TCH congregations took in a fella who was on the street and a drug addict. And he stole someones wallet and disappeared. What did those people do? They looked for him because they were concerned for his safety. Will they keep taking people in? Yep.

In Sheffield actual homelessness is quite rare. There is accommodation available for most people who want it. But how about having someone who spends most of their time on the street into your home for a meal? There’s another MASSIVE thing for us in our culture.

What I really want to see in our churches is for these big things to become small things. They are big things because they are so rare. They are big things because we count the risk as high. But if the people in our churches start to practice these things on a daily basis they’ll no longer be so rare. If we truly look to our future home and realise this is not our home, then so what if someone steals my wallet? If we see God as providing everything we need to serve others then he’ll provide the money we need, even the money to be stolen! If we trust him for protection, then we have to trust him when we are actually harmed, because if we’re taking risks for God that may well happen. We expect it to happen to missionaries, so why not here? This is not to say we deliberately put ourselves in harms way, no more than a missionary does. But it is to say we value serving others with the love and message of Christ as of far greater value than our homes, our possessions, our comfort and even our lives.

What a church we would be if this was the norm. After all what is this compared to the lengths Jesus went to save us?

Having said all this to extend the kind of hospitality that welcomes someone who is on the margins of society into your home for somewhere to sleep or even for a meal is a massive thing – for them! Where some might give them money, or a sandwich, you’re actually saying ‘come into my home, enjoy the comfort of my seats, enjoy some real home cooking and some warmth, be part of my family, at least for an evening.’ Now that is big.

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