Date: Monday, August 12
Scripture: Acts 21:1-6
Verse: We looked up the disciples and stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:4)
Over the years in ministry I have noticed how many of the people who the best helpers – willing to give whatever they can to another – are often the worst receivers of help when they are in need. Many of us were taught to give all that we can, but also taught to be independent. This isn’t a bad thing. In Saturday’s scripture we read Paul say to the leaders of the church in Ephesus, “remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35).
Yet in today’s passage we read of Paul and his team putting themselves in the place of receiving hospitality. In verse 4 the invite themselves to stay with members of the church for a week. Read on to verses 7 and 8 and you will hear of them staying with the believers of a different town for one day and Phillip’s house the next. Jesus did something similar, inviting himself to Zacchaeus’ house, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down [from the tree]; for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). Paul and Jesus each put themselves in the place of recipient of hospitality, an example we are called to follow.
Imagine one of them inviting himself to spend some time with you. Then again, this is the invitation made to us each and every day. Jesus is knocking on the door of our lives, asking to come in, to eat with us, asking us to offer him a place to stay. Jesus didn’t need Zacchaeus to feed him that day. Paul could have stayed just about anywhere. Each knew the value of entering into the life of the other. Zacchaeus’ life was forever changed by Jesus’ visit, and Paul was able to build up the leaders of the churches through his.
This is an example we are to follow. We need to be willing to receive the hospitality of another, to invite ourselves into the life of another in the hopes we might mentor them, and/or offer them the love and forgiveness known only in a relationship with Jesus.
Prayer: Grant me the courage, Holy Spirit, to put myself in places where I can receive the hospitality of another. Amen.
Action: When someone serves you – at the coffee shop, at work, or at lunch – appreciate them well. Give a heartfelt “thank you” and/or a generous tip.
Respond: When have you received generous hospitality? Were you OK with it, or were you uncomfortable? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.