In the days of the early church in Acts 16, a businesswoman named Lydia used an unexpected gift to serve her growing church. Paul and Silas were visiting a place of prayer outside the city. Lydia was there, and after hearing Paul talk about Jesus, con-verted and was baptized. Her first action as a believer was to invite them into her home. Not long after, Paul and Silas experienced prison cells and prayer-triggered earthquakes, prevented a man from committing suicide and were nearly thrown out of the city. Afterward, Paul and Silas went to a refuge – Lydia’s home, where there were people meeting in safety to worship Jesus.
It’s no wonder Paul recommends to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:1-2) and Titus
(Titus 1:7-8) that anyone interested in a leadership position in the church must have the qualities of self-control, respect, and hospitality among other worthwhile traits. But hospitality isn’t just for church leadership. In the same breath in Romans 12, we are instructed to be constant in prayer and to contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality (verse 12). Showing hospitality is an opportunity to live out your faith in Jesus in a tangible, observable way.
Summer is the perfect time to call up your neighbors, believers or not, and invite them in for a barbecue or sweet tea. Friends, you can begin to live counter-culturally like Lydia – where your home isn’t a castle, but a refuge for those around you where a person can encounter Jesus.
Dr. Jordyne Carmack is an assistant professor of communication arts
at University of the Cumberlands. She completed her PhD in Leadership, with an emphasis in Christian Ministry and Missions, in December of 2018. She and her husband Daniel live out gospel hospitality
with an “open porch” policy at their house – come one, come all.