Stoking a Welcome Fire

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness… Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. ‘If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you…’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 12:46; 13:3-5,14-15,34-35

To look out through a screen across the street on a frigid morning, and see the blaze of a welcoming fire through a front door, does something to the heart. It brings a warm smile. How captivating, how attractive is a flickering glow of flame to the cold and wandering. Come out from behind your protective screens, it beckons. Come in from your cold, it says. Come sit by my warmth and be comforted and know you are loved, the light invites. What a lovely picture of how our lives should be, burning bright with welcoming hospitality and the love of the Savior.

Fire through Neans Dr front door

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly… Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Romans 12:10-11,13; 1 Peter 4:8-10

If this is our call, how do we keep the fire stoked, guard against slothfulness and complacency, overcome selfishness, remain earnest and fervent? How do we deal with our desire to manage perfectly, control our surroundings, and keep on our schedule? Are there demands I make that prohibit my welcoming others in, lines the cannot be crossed, tasks I must perform, rules that must be followed? What in the way I order my life is a turnoff to others participating in it? Are there belongings and structures I hold so closely I am closed to those with whom God would disrupt my life?

To serve and show hospitality with genuine love requires a yielding of a lot of what I may hold dear, and actually treasure more than I prefer others. Walls and boundaries that I’ve constructed must be yielded to the Lord Who welcomed me in all my mess, and bids me do the same.

Redeemer, make a difference in me so You can make a difference through me. Stoke Your Spirit’s fire in my heart and life to warmly and irresistibly welcome others who need to see and know You.

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