Hospitality: Day 12

Expect the Unexpected

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Today's Text: Acts 28:1-10, 1 Kings 17:8-24, Psalm 128:1-2

Text: Acts 28:1-10, 1 Kings 17:8-24, Psalm 128:1-2

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
– Acts 20:35b

 Random drop-ins scare the pants off of some people. There’s nothing like the 2 p.m. knock at the door when you’re still in your pajamas, children running amuck through the house and you’ve yet to put on a bra for the day. What to do? Throw on a sweatshirt despite the fact that it’s 85 degrees outside? Maybe peek out from the upstairs window to see who’s there? Perhaps it’s a friend or a neighbor. Do you welcome them in? Brew a pot of coffee? Brush the shoes and socks off the couch and settle in for a visit? Or do you pretend you aren’t home, even though the sounds from inside say otherwise?

Remember Publius from Acts 28 last week? He is the chief of Malta who invited Paul and the prisoners to his home for 3 days when they were shipwrecked. I always wonder what those 3 days must have looked like, hosting a complete stranger under such odd and abrupt circumstances. At some point during that time, while Paul is walking gardens or lounging at the table after dinner with his new friend, it is mentioned that Publius’s father is very ill. So Paul, being Paul, goes to visit his father and pray for him.

Publius’s father is immediately healed.

Healings are a pretty big deal, so once again Paul and the group become the talk of the town.  Word gets out and before Paul’s 3 days on the island are up, all of the sick people of Malta come to receive prayer and are healed.

Did you get that? The whole island is healed because of the welcome extended to strangers. The island is transformed by radical hospitality.

Or what about the widow in Zarephath from 1 Kings 17? She gives Elijah, a complete stranger, food and drink despite the fact that she only has enough for herself and her son.  Her tiny bit of flour and oil multiplies enough to feed the three of them for many days. She is a mom whose son falls ill, and because she had offered such unusual kindness, Elijah petitions the Lord for healing.

This woman opened her door to an unexpected guest and received blessing herself because of her willingness to live generously. Her kindness yielded healing for her household.

It is the economy of our Father that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We receive blessing in the welcome.  

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
– Psalm 128:1-2

When we extend ourselves in kindness for others, I wonder how often we are the ones who receive the greater blessing? Perhaps our heart of welcome even opens the door for us to receive healing!

Kinda makes you want to open the door more often, doesn’t it?

 

Logan Wolfram is the Executive Director of Allume who most loves to write, connect, and encourage women. Daughter of a most extravagant and hospitable King, wife to Jeremy, and mother to 2 wild and inquisitive little boys, her days are filled with a combination of routine and plenty of the unexpected.

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  • These studies have challenged me to open my home more. In UK culture your house should be tidy and perfect before people come round-and mine NEVER will be. I think it takes a lot of courage to fly in the face of that and I’m asking God for it!!

  • Love this. As I was reading the Bible passages, especially the passage about the widow in Kings, I was struck by how much faith is a process of appearing to be falling, only to be caught by our Father before the painful impact. The widow must have felt that sense of loss and hopelessness as she was waiting for death, before her obedience by faith caused her to be caught in God’s loving hands before she hit the bottom. She must have felt similar hopelessness at her son’s illness, only to be caught once again in God’s love by his healing. We must never let our fear of falling or failing outweigh our hope in God’s grace and deliverance. Thank you SRT

  • P.s. still learning to be okay with the 2pm “interruptions” and embrace them instead.

  • growing up my parents often welcomed many people over for meals, including visitors at church. we also usually have extra people at family holiday gatherings. ..Chinese PhD students or other folks we’ve crossed paths with during the year. I love their example of hospitality and love to all sorts of people. indeed it is more blessed to give than receive and there’s blessing in the welcome!

  • Jennifer Durham

    Wow, Lauren!! That is huge, and also amazing! God bless you on this new journey.

  • Lauren Gilbert

    God has really used this bible study to open up my heart and mind to His plan for my life– both in the small day-to-day acts of hospitality and love and in the large life-changing ones. Today my husband called and asked if we could take in a 15 year old boy that has no family and is about to be put into the system. We are both so young and don’t even have children of our own yet. This isn’t how I had always envisioned my life. But thanks to this series, I am working to expect the unexpected and love boldly and let God figure out the rest. I think we’ll take the leap! Thank you!

  • Kate Martin

    I really love this study, but I feel this post left something out. It paints a very flowery, beautiful picture that very often does happen, but I think one has to be prepared for the fact that the hospitality you offer may not be returned with love and appreciation. It doesn’t mean we stop welcoming & opening our homes. It does mean we remember to do out of our love for the Lord, not for what we may receive or hope to receive in return.

  • I greatly desire to walk in obedience of the Lord and have him direct me, even when it is hard. I want to be hospitable and give even when it hurts…I can’t imagine being that woman who made food for Elijah thinking that it would be her last for her son too! Giving even in such confusion and plain–trusting that she was doing as God asked her. This story blows me away. However, I find myself feeling stuck as I don’t even know what walking in obedience looks like because I don’t know what God is asking me to do. I feel like I am waiting for something! However, I am encouraged by this story as well as the woman was just doing her normal daily activities and God worked through her and in her life through extraordinary ways. A good lesson to keep looking to God even in the everyday/normal/seemingly unimportant moments of our day.

  • This is my first study with SRT. The Lord brought it to me at just the right time. I am getting ready to host a small group of ladies from my church. I’ve only met one of them. I am an introvert and not a Martha, but want everything perfect and it never is. We homeschool so there is always stuff everywhere. The book that our groups are based on is all about making your home a sanctuary and setting the table. Thank you for the paradigm shift. Our hosting should not make people feel as if they have to try to compete with it. The home I feel most welcome in is one that is not perfect. And thank you for the reminder today about the hospitality I share when our sons have friends over. I am looking forward to opening our door more and to joining this community for the next study.

  • Asharivs

    No one knocks at my door at 2pm…feel like I don’t have the approachable “anything goes” type of attitude… Maybe my friends know that and steer clear unless I invite them. I suggest chatting at a coffee shop, eating even more money in the process because I’m ashamed of my home. How is that hospitable?! Lord, forgive my pride.

  • Jeri Taira

    Reading Acts 28 again really ingrained in me the truth of just how unusually kind the islanders were. So, I read Ch 27 in of curiosity of how they got to the island. It was a wonder to read how Paul was shown kindness even by Julius. Then, I wanted to read all of 28. I am amazed at the overabundance of hospitality. It really was a big deal in the bible days. I’m praying on how it can be a big deal to my heart today. As God answers, I’m going to be excited to obey and act on it. How exciting to expect the unexpected.

  • Cari Spaulding

    Sometimes hospitality can become wearisome. I normally have a great attitude about it, but after time, it can seem to get a bit old, and it just sort of seems confusing as to why I have to give and give and give, when there’s usually nothing given in return. In times where we feel like we are doing a lot of giving and reaching out, my best friend will remind me, “we will be rewarded in heaven. ” Not that this has to be a game involving rewards, but rather, I find peace in knowing that our Savior gets satisfaction in knowing we are reaching out to others for his cause. As it says in our study guides today, “engaging your kingdom to honor you never comes back void and even yields blessing. ” Leu us not grow weary in our quest of serving others, but remember that there is receiving in the giving.

  • When my husband and I purchased our first home (we still live here six years later), we prayed that God would use it as a place of gathering, refuge, and radical hospitality. Very quickly we had the opportunity to make good on that prayer.

    Over and over we’ve been in positions to open our home to those who needed a place, a hug, a bed, a hot meal. He’s honored our prayer over and over again.

    And you know how God sometimes speaks through a megaphone? This study, our pastor’s sermon on Sunday and other things have all led my husband and I to the same conclusion – though we arrived at it without talking about it until after: we’re praying for a bigger house to continue this mission.

    God has expanded our hearts and we’re asking him to expand our space too. We want to be ready for the unexpected!!

    • hesaved83

      Yes may God bless & expand your territory, Jesus' name, amen. (1Chronicles 4:9-10)

    • Emily

      that is so amazing!! That is wonderful Johanna! expect big things from Him!

  • “quieted” pain

  • My house was always the hang out growing up, and my parents “adopted” all of my and my brother’s friends. We were poor, but my mom always found a way to feed anyone who was hungry. My friends even hung out at my house when I wasn’t there! I am so thankful that I was able to grow up with such a wonderful example of hospitality. When my dad passed away three years ago, we were blessed with so many memories from friends about how my dad was a dad to many, not just me and my brother!

    • She Reads Truth

      Love this image, Melissa! Thanks so much for sharing these precious family memories with us!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Shannon Roe

    Psalm 67 keeps echoing in my heart this morning. We are blessed to be a blessing – that the ends of the earth may fear Him. May we always give with cheerful hearts, knowing that He has blessed us each in ways that are all to be used for His glory. Open hearts, hands, homes – how He longs to bless us through blessing others. Let’s go bless and be blessed today – all to bring praise and glory to Him!

  • This weekend I have such an opportunity to apply these truths on hospitality. I need physical strength. Please lift me up in prayer for quoted pain, strong bones and muscles, energy to meet the tasks and a genuine smile that conveys love rather than the struggle in my body.
    Thanking You and God now for what will be done!

    • Christina

      Praying for you that God will provide all you need to lovingly provide hospitality.

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying for you, friend! Expecting The Lord to do big things!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Beth Warner

    Oh how I am loving this study!!! It’s teaching me so much. And really, it’s a relief to know hospitality is in the heart, not in an immaculate house. Whew!!!!

    • She Reads Truth

      Such a relief, isn't it?! Thankful He is revealing His way of hospitality to us! So glad you're here, Beth!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • In a season where it is much easier to not connect-living in a place for a short season before moving again. I find it is easy to withdraw, stay removed. But I am so thankful for this reminder. I pray to welcome "interruptions"-to connect and welcome others.

    • Cari Spaulding

      Sarah, this sounds like it is definitely a season where it would be easy to just do your own thing. I’ve been there before. I praying for you tonight that the Spirit leads you in ways you can reach out before leaving!

  • Ladies, all of you speak so well for me this morning. You have made points that are only heart and I won't repeat them. I just pray to day to copy from Becca's post that I "Count what is taken as given". And that I keep in mind that those who just need "ME" for the moment do not need my clean house, they are wanting to me noticed. Take the focus off me and put my focus on what Christ has placed before me.
    Have a blessed day sisters.

  • Party Of Seven

    Some of you prayed last Sunday for a new group starting to meet in my home and I wanted to share something neat that happened. The group went great! Far beyond our expectations as is His nature! We didn’t know whether to plan on 6 or 16 and the Lord brought 36! Anyway, as students began pouring in and we were prepared to welcome and minister, some unexpected opportunities for “hospitality”- showing unusual kindness, presented itself and our entire home ended up being used for ministry that night! We had praise and worship practice going on upstairs, a single dads clothes being finished in our laundry room, another single dad who hadn’t slept in a few days was catching some zzzz’s in our back bedroom all while teenagers overtook the rest of the living spaces! After the dust settled that evening, I went to bed with a smile and my heart overjoyed with thanksgiving … My hearts plea is, “Lord, lets do this again!!”

    • She Reads Truth

      Love love LOVE this! So grateful for God's presence in your home and His faithfulness made visible through your gathering! Thanks for sharing this! Praising with you today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • hesaved83

      Praise the Lord!!!

  • This study is a reminder that, really, everything we have is God’s to begin with. How will he use the homes he’s given us to reveal his love and character? It flips the conversation so that we hold our lives with open hands, ready to give and ready to receive.

  • Jesus’ return will be the greatest unexpected interruption of all time. I heard someone once say “Stay ready to keep from getting ready!”

    • She Reads Truth

      Yes! Love this, Anita! Thanks for sharing!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • smithwendy62

    I think about the door greater at some of the local stores….are they just doing their job and are they enthusiastic about truly greeting the customers….I hope that I can be the enthusiastic greeter to all that the Lord sends my way!

  • Love this!

  • I experienced this type of blessing myself from the poorest of poor families that I serve in a village in the Yucatan region of Mexico. To give you an idea of how poor they are, they live in a Mayan hut that is falling down. The walls of their hut are sticks with not even paper over them for protection. They have four children and they sleep in hammocks with a pile of coal beneath to keep warm in the winter months and their clothes are tattered pieces of cloth. One day a few years back it was unseasonably cold in the Yucatan. We knew that families would be freezing so we brought blankets for several homes. When we visited their home, they had a fire burning and were cooking dinner that consisted of a 1/2 of a tortilla for each person. As soon as we entered the house, they each gave their tortilla to us without even a second thought. My heart just broke because I know that God's heart was breaking! This family was risking that they would all go to bed hungry but had the incredible hospitality to offer us their only food. God prompted us to go and buy them food and we returned with a huge bag of goodies that would help them for quite some time. I will never forget the little girl's face as she exclaimed, "Pan" (bread) They hadn't had bread in such a long time and so it was a huge treat. I thank Jesus for showing me this demonstration of pure Hospitality.

    • zzwhitejd

      It never fails to amaze me how God works when we are on mission for Him. In Jordan I received amazing hospitality from a family that had very little. I came away so amazingly blessed by it. Your testimony brought tears to my eyes as they brought to mind my Jordanian friends.

  • Holy Spirit, please help me to extend myself in kindness to others and You would have me to.. for YOUR glory. Amen.

    • She Reads Truth

      Amen! Praying with you, friend!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Today reminds me of a phrase a friend once used: “Count what is taken as given”. In those moments when hospitality is somehow forced upon you, to shift attitudes to act add as if it were choice is so powerful. I have to be honest though, I struggle to remember it in the heat of the moment! But what a great reminder of the blessings of being welcoming, even when we’re not ready.

    • Logan Wolfram

      I think this is why it’s important to cultivate a heart of welcome… So that we reach a point where people’s unexpected crossing of our paths is an expected part of the hospitality we extend. There is no such thing as “forced” hospitality when our heart is bent towards a Biblical understanding of it

    • She Reads Truth

      Oh, I love that, Becca! Thank you so much for sharing! What a beautiful reminder.

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • God has really been convicting my heart regarding the unexpected interruptions that He calls us to embrace. As someone who has a hard time with interruptions and who has a near anxiety attack at the thought if the unexpected, this study on hospitality is helping me to see that those unexpected interruptions are opportunities, not annoyances. It is in the unexpected guests and unexpected events that we may receive unexpected miracles and unexpected doors to be opened.

    Biblical hospitality is not easy. As the widow in todays scripture shows us, biblical hospitality takes hard work and sometimes sacrifice (and often times setting aside our own anxiety/fear) … But it is well worth it because all that hard work glorifies God. "We receive blessing in the welcome" of God's interruptions. What a great lesson to learn as we enter into this weekend! Happy TGIF y'all!

    • Anita

      Amen! God help us to embrace our interruptions for Your glory.

    • Emily

      I definitely agree with you. I grew up in a house that was not so welcoming to strangers, and still is not. My parents reel at the thought of having people over because its not perfect, not do they want to put in the time to serve God though this (my dad is in bondage to somethings and my mom is baby believer). But, I have always thought that hospitality is all those things: perfect house, perfect food, perfect hostess. What a lie!
      God has been showing me how selfish I can be through this study— my first instinct to interruptions is to deny anyone into my heart or give them love or kindness. i want to run away from letting people in; part of that is fear of not doing well enough–fear of failure.
      Jesus is shaping me and making me meet Him here in my mess. He's saying "Emily, I want to go through this mess with you". Jesus is the most hospitable and I know for a fact I will be doing this study again someday! All of you are such a blessing to me.

  • I am so thankful to know that I am not the only one whose heart hits her throat with the sound of a doorbell. These days, my home seems to breed mess before my eyes and as I pick up one thing it's as if my little ones drop three behind me, not to mention the hours I'm in the car just transporting these days. I just can not keep up. This current stage has definitely affected my willingness to have people over. BUT there is change afoot. My teenager's friends regularly spend weekends here and she says they feel comfortable, like it's a second home, perhaps because teenagers are synonymous with mess :). Recently one dropped in unexpectedly for a quick dinner because she was starving and was on our side of town. I've been blessed by these kids and seeing how they love my daughter only furthers that. Now, if I can get my act together in this stage of life and forget about the mess, enjoy the season AND invite others, even those unexpected, to enjoy it to…. I suppose if I'm entertaining angels they're more concerned with my heart than the toys they have to step over and the layer of dust accumulated on my book shelves. ~ B

    • Logan Wolfram

      That’s just it! A heart of hospitality is about the welcome… Not obtaining perfection to precede the welcome. Push as life the toy trail and invite that 2pm knock at the door inside for a cup of coffee and just like you said… There is joy and healing that comes from when we worry less about appearances and more about the people.

    • zzwhitejd

      Oh, you are most certainly not alone! I think the biggest fear is the I'm-not-wearing-a-bra moments, I'll grab my littlest kid for cover! It's ridiculous. My kids aren't of driving age yet, but I surely hope that my house is that "second home". Years ago before marriage, my then roommate and I had that with college friends and it was amazing.

  • The Italians have that great saying…'.mi casa su casa..' my house is your house….I love that, I love those words…they almost sum up hospitality, In four / five words….treat my home as yours, help yourself to tea, food from the fridge, sit on my furniture, use my bathroom, rest a while here, sleep peacefully here, share my garden…all of these things and more, are said in those few words…
    My youngest popped home for a visit last week and brought some friends along…as they were getting ready to go out, all sorts was being organised, when it dawned on him that he had no house keys, as they would be returning quite late from their outing…He joked….'it's the oddest thing, as her son, I don't have keys to my family home, but my friend whom, she might as well have adopted, does, mums friend has a set, as does my girlfriend, the neighbour down the road too….' He did have a set, but lost them, and is waiting for his new set…
    My point….as I have said before, I love my house, my home, but, I reckoned a long time ago, though, that there was no point having this house if it couldn't be shared, blessed with laughter, joy, love, friendship…as 1 Corinthians 13 says ….If you have……all you need to live, but have not love…it is a resounding gong, nothing, and gain nothing…(I have paraphrased lots)…
    My words in place of the above are ..If I have all this, and do not share it, in love, in faith, and in hope…what do I have, but nothing….I gain nothing, and I am for sure a rubbish sounding gong…God blessed me with this house, I need to bless others through that blessing…
    These people have keys for all sorts of reasons, (apart from the neighbour), so it was somewhere they could come to, for safety, for a place to stay, just in case….
    Mi casa su casa…..my home is your home…

    I am not perfect, by a l-o-n-g shot, and don't profess to be, I so know that I have a long way to go in this hospitality deal, some aspects resonate so well with me, others, the cringe factor, and some total embarrassment at even calling myself a child of God…But God…has stretched out His Almighty hand of Grace in this study, and is saying ' Child of mine I trust you….I am entrusting you with this new understanding of my hospitality, Go and show my love as I have shown you…' All I have, and everything I am is but …by God's Grace …..Amen and thank you Lord God , thank you…

    Sisters, it's a cold and wet day here in England, it has rained none stop through the night, in my neck of the woods….but what a day God has planned for us, what a day the Lord has made….let us rejoice and be glad in it….I love you guys….God bless you …xxx

    • Onfaith

      My mother was very much like this Tina. I remember in high school, friends of mine would pop over to dine, snack or chat…..often times with my mother over me. Sometimes it drove me crazy, now I get it. I love that you're so hospitable and I know your children must as well. Thankful that God's Grace through you allows this for others. ~ B

    • Logan Wolfram

      I love this Tina!!!

    • Chelsea

      What a wonderful perspective to have! I hope my home is the "safe hang-out" spot for my children and their friends.

    • Sofiya

      Tina,

      Your hospitality is so moving for me. I love how you said that what is the point of a home if you can’t share it with loved ones? For me, this statement has been tested this week with family friends coming to town and me having tongive up my bedroom and bathroom for them (I live in the grandmother suite at my parents home while finishing up school). And mind you I could have been more hospitable and more gracious about this, after reading your post and following this plan, I know that next time someone comes to visit I am going to be more than honored to share my space and be hospitable, because as you stated, Love is patient and Love is kind. Thank you for your post, and have a blessed day!

      – Sofiya

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