Many times through the years I have felt the desire to serve in the church ministry, yet too often found myself lacking in the areas of ministry that mattered the most, my family. How can a mom and wife feel fulfilled as a servant of Christ in the ministry without losing sight of her number one priority?
For me, the answer is to serve alongside my family. Some families all work together in a Sunday School class for younger children, some families serve together by singing in the nursing homes, and some families serve together in community evangelism. With my husband's job and schedule this has not been an easy task for us to schedule together. Many times in the past we ended up being separated into different areas of ministry and it pulled us further apart.
One area that we can fully serve together in is the ministry of hospitality. This is one area in which we see a need and are able to fulfill with our family's schedule. For our family we are able to have people over to our home on Sunday afternoons for an early dinner. We have also been able to open our door on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to families in need. And, we have had the opportunity to serve at the local soup kitchen and a few homeless shelters as well as visiting the elderly who are not able to get to church as often as others are.
Romans 12:10, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;...13, Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality."
Acts 20:35, "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Easter is tomorrow, and we will be hosting dinner in our home for a family. This is an incredible opportunity to not only share the love of the Lord with them, but also to be kind towards them and help them in different areas of their own life. My husband knows the husband well and the wife has agreed to come to dinner with us. It helps incredibly that my husband knows him, because we know what to do to make them feel comfortable in our home. This is a young family who is struggling financially and trying to put their broken lives back together.
I certainly could assume that having my finest china set on the table with fine linen napkins and fancy napkin rings would be a real treat for them. However, would that make them feel comfortable in my home or set them on edge trying to be their best? My husband and I want them to feel comfortable and at ease in our home. They already have a desire to live for the Lord, and we know they will not use inappropriate language in our home, but I don't want them to feel like they've just walked into a museum either.
We do all we can to create an environment that will welcome our visitors. For some people, we set out T.V. trays, use paper plates, eat pizza, and watch a football game. (HavingTiVo is great because we can fast forward through ungodly commercials.) While with others we may sit at the table with a candle lit dinner. Our goal is to provide a place for the family in question to feel at home and comfortable so that we can minister to them.
We don't want our guests to feel as though we are perfect and making it painfully obvious that they are not. The fact of the matter is that none of us are perfect. Knowing ahead of time that a young family, who is new to the family of God, may not have upper class manners, we try to be sure not to make them uneasy by sitting at the table. They may not be sure what the charger plate is really for or which fork to use. On the flip side, we may have an upper class family over that would feel uncomfortable using paper napkins while eating pizza with their hands.
1 Corinthians 9:22, "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
The purpose of opening up our home is to minister and disciple other Christians and new visitors who are beginning to come to church. You can also use your home to minister to traveling pastors, missionaries, and even foster children.
There is so much to cover in the area of hospitality and we'll continue our study of this very soon.