So let me ask you: Have you been using the life applications each week and trying to keep it humble with each verse we’ve traveled through? How hard has it been? Has it been a piece of cake? Yes? Then you aren’t doing it. Ha!
This week, we’re camping on verse 13, but let’s recap.
“9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;” Romans 12:9-12 NKJV
Check it in the Message version. I love it.
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” Romans 12:9-12
If you want to catch up on the series so far, you can here:
Today, let’s jump into verse 13: “distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” NKJV and here it is in the Message: “Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”
Remember, this passage is about believers and how we treat other Christians. I loved Monday’s YouTube video by Christy Nockels. They (unbelievers) will know us (believers) by our love. Our love for who? Them but…
Jesus said in John 13, “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (verses 34-35 MSG)
If we can’t love one another and be hospitable to our brothers and sisters in Christ, how does that make us any different than any non-believer in Christ? And I don’t just mean in our local body—I mean even those who don’t agree with all your doctrine and say you are of the devil. Or those who you think are of the devil lol! Can’t we all simply love Jesus and get along?
But this isn’t about doctrine today. It’s about hospitality.
We have wonderful examples in the Old and New Testament. People brought strangers into their homes and fed them, sometimes not realizing they were entertaining angels. Now, I’m not saying drag every stranger in your home, we have to use discernment and be safe. But I think we need to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, in case he does have us pull over on the side of the road or do the unusual.
The word hospitality in the Greek is philoxenia and it means love to strangers, hospitality It comes from the root word philoxenos which means hospitable, generous to guests
So maybe you don’t pull in every person off the street, but does that mean you can’t pay for a stranger’s coffee in front of you? Buy the meal for the table next to yours? The Message version says, “be inventive in hospitality.”
How can you get inventive?
What does it mean to distribute to the needs of the saints? Well, who are the saints? Saints mean most holy thing.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a “most holy thing?”
Neither have I.
But if you believe in Christ, you are indeed a saint. A “most holy thing” to the Lord. “ A most holy man or woman. I have a hard time looking at myself as God does. He sees me through the pure and holy blood of Christ. I see me as simply me. Flesh. Rags. A vapor in the wind. A struggler in so many areas.
But I am a saint. Most holy to God. Set apart. Precious. Worth dying for. Beloved. Beautiful.
And so are you.
Funny but when we read the word “distribute” we think of giving. However that Greek word is koinōneō and it doesn’t mean giving in the sense you may think it does. It means to enter into fellowship, join one's self to an associate, make one's self a sharer or partner
And to be given to it. Given, meaning to pursue it eagerly. Ever heard of a small group? Church events that are surrounded around fellowship and food? Spend time with other believers. It’s important! We need each other.
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” Acts 2:44-45
Preachers should stop hammering tithing and teach this! They didn’t give a tenth. They gave all they had and used the money to help each other according to their needs.
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.” Acts 2: 46-47
They ate together, laughed together. Based on their common thread. A scarlet thread. Jesus
Christ. Out of gladness and joy. With praise.
They had favor with all people.
What was the result of this unity? Of humbling themselves, giving of themselves sacrificially, centered by the love of Christ?
“And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47
And they will know us by our love for one another. Like the video sang this past Monday. The whole point of this life called Christianity is to glorify God, to snatch souls from the fire and to show the world his love.
Hard to do when we’re at each other’s throats and slinging messages of hate through the venue of freedom of speech. I’ve seen saints more hateful on facebook than anywhere else.
And I’ve seen non-believers scoff and unfriend us. On facebook. And in their hearts.
I’ve known Christians who are the stingiest, self-absorbed people on the planet.
I’ve been that Christian, too.
Wanna be humble? Love the saints. Give to the saints. Give to the scoffers. Be eager to do it.
Love with all you got. Because at the end of the day, you aren’t taking a thing with you. And you will stand before the King.
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Matthew 16:27
“Our only goal is to please God whether we live here or there, because we must all stand before Christ to be judged. Each of us will receive what we should get—good or bad—for the things we did in the earthly body. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
Life Application: This week make it your mission to do one thing to show hospitality to a saint. And then do one thing to show your love to an unbeliever.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that we are holy to you. Set apart to bring you glory and honor. Give us the strength and supernatural ability to love, to be hospitable, to give. Open our hands to let it go so that you can fill it with every good thing spiritually. Let us reap our good deeds in the spiritual bank, in our hearts. In our relationship with you. Fill us with all joy. In Jesus' name. Amen
Let’s get inventive together. How can we show others our love? Let the creativity and ideas begin!