Friday, July 23, 2010

Time Together

It's interesting how you can spend a lot of time with a person and learn very little about what is going on in their life. Since our daughter was born back in April, Monica and I have not spent very much time alone. The time when it is just the two of us, which is usually when the other children are in the bed, has not been filled with much conversation.

As we say around here - I have been wore out. Sleep has been very irregular over these past few months. Our newborn has refused to go down before 11:30pm and the other kids have kept us moving early in the morning with lots of summertime activities.

My brother and I used to pick on our Dad when he would doze off in the evenings while reading the paper. Of course, we didn't really consider that he was up before the sun at 4:30am everyday to go to work. These past few months I have felt guilty about that because I haven't been able to keep my eyes open either.

I have resisted going to bed without Monica. She has told me to, but I wanted to keep her company by at least being in the same room with her. I thought it would be an encouragement to her. However, I have realized something. Even though we were in the same room together we weren't growing together. For people to grow together there must be communication...and by that I mean words.

Peter says in 1 Peter 3:7 that husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way. His use of the word understanding has a sense of curiosity to it. He's telling husbands to talk to their wives...ask questions of their wives...learn about their wives...try to figure out what makes her tick...understand what is going on in her life right now.

And this is not for the sake of nosiness. This is for the sake of care. How can you care for someone if you don't know what is going on with them?

So, what is the lesson learned here? It's great to spend time together, but it's a greater time when it's spent in humble, honest conversation trying to learn about the other person. Being in the same room is good, but it doesn't promote deep growth. To truly learn you more and be able to be a better servant you must spend time talking. Husbands, I hope you will devote the time and energy required.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are You Hospitable?

I was reading in 1 Peter today and read this verse in 1 Peter 4:9, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Let’s see how our definition of hospitality compares with Peter’s intent.

In the ancient setting this hospitality could have meant to show kindness to strangers who were in need as they traveled. It seems that much of the ancient nomadic culture was based upon the hope that people would share food and offer a place of rest for traveling strangers.

As I looked at the word I can’t help but see the word hospital. We all know what that is. It is a place for the hurting to find care, relief and recovery. Peter says that Christians ought to be hospitable people.

Finally, as I think about this sentence I see the phrase “one another”. It seems that Peter may have strangers in mind, but he is also thinking more specifically. As he is writing this letter, Christians are headed toward intense persecution.

Because of the persecution some of them will lose possessions and homes. If this is the case then Peter is calling on the other Christians to be generous in sharing with those who have been persecuted.

Because of the persecution some of them will lose family members to imprisonment or even martyrdom. The call for hospitality in those cases will be even more serious.

I wonder if we would be willing to share even when we know it will bring us great inconvenience. Would we be willing to sacrifice on a long-term basis to meet the needs of others? Would we sacrifice our privacy in order to allow another follower of Jesus to live with us when they have lost a family member or home? I fear that in our modern church the term hospitality makes us think of a cookout or game night. While it is good to gather in this way, the New Testament has a much deeper and more sacrificial view of hospitality.

Christian, hear Peter’s call to sacrificially care for someone that is hurting without grumbling. It is service for the sake of the Gospel.