I had a special visitor the other day – Steven, who is the son of one of our Team members. Cerebral palsy left Steven with some severe mental and physical limitations – in fact, more than any parents could manage at home. So Steven is in a special care facility – and he’s a special young man from whom his parents say they have learned so much about God’s love. Because he’s not home much – and because I’m away a lot – his Mom brought him in the other day so I could meet him. I was just on my way to the radio studio to meet a pressing deadline when Steven came in. I got to tell him how much his Mom means to us, how much she talks about him and loves him, and how much I liked what he was wearing. Even though we were just visiting for a few moments, Steven suddenly started pulling at his coat. His Mom said, “You want to take off your coat and stay a while, don’t you, Steven?” She said he doesn’t do that much. That really got to me.
Well, I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about “Making Folks Feel At Home.”
I guess Steven felt at home that day. And he made me think, “How often do I make the person with me feel comfortable enough that they really feel at home? And how many times am I so busy and preoccupied that I make them feel like an unwelcome intrusion?”
It’s all about a Christian grace that is mentioned numerous times in the New Testament, including in our word for today from the Word of God. In 1 Peter 4:8-9 it says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Hospitality – notice it’s portrayed here as a very practical way to show that you love a person deeply. Which is described as the “above all” characteristic of a follower of Christ.
Hospitality is more than just having guests over to your house – it’s a spirit, an attitude that gives a person the feeling that they’re welcome when they’re with you. It’s that kind of royal treatment that makes a person feel like “taking their coat off and staying a while.” Basically, a hospitable spirit is one that treats each person in a way that makes them feel how special they are to God.
Notice, I said each person. This isn’t selective royal treatment, reserved for those we want to impress...or those who impress us...or those who have something we need. It’s treating each person special. When you live like that, you join an elite group that is very small and very unforgettable – when someone is with you, you make them feel like they are the only person on this planet as far as you’re concerned.
Let me tell you – that kind of treatment is not natural – it’s supernatural. You become like that as you become more and more yielded to Jesus. You make people feel at home when you take time to take an interest in what interests them...when you ask the second and third question, not just the obligatory, “How ya doin?” and leaving it there. It’s when you really listen to them...when you notice things about them...when you compliment them. In other words, when you give a person your total focus. When you’re all about making them feel important, not showing them how important you are.
I wonder how people feel when they’re around you. Do they feel noticed or ignored...appreciated or tolerated...worth your time or an intruder in your busy schedule? It doesn’t take a lot of time to make a person feel special , but it does take focused time. When you do that, you are being Jesus “with skin on” for them – treating them as He would. Make it your goal to make every person feel at home when they’re with you.
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