The last two years of pandemic life shook the ground beneath our feet and shifted our relationship with our homes. As the world shut down, our lives moved indoors in collective retreat. Our most familiar rhythms were interrupted without warning, with work, church, and school patterns upended.
In some respects, this was a welcome change. The pandemic cleared our calendars and paused the frantic pace of modern life, if only for a moment. But the brief pause, first welcomed as rest and reflection, has persisted with loss, division, and conflict. Our window of tolerance shrank. Daily life has been hard. Our feet feel a bit shaky as we look to the future. We feel a sense of fragility—an awareness of how everything can change without warning—and there’s weariness under the surface of all we do.
Yet through this, God has remained steadfast. He is the Rock (Deut. 32:4). He has placed his love and affection on his people, and it is immovable (Mal. 3:6). He is the source of all good gifts, “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). His enduring consistency of love is what we need to remember and invite others to hear.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to reshape our homes from places of retreat to outposts of welcome. What if, in this time of uncertainty and fear, our homes can be places of mission, where friends and neighbors experience the steadfast, unchanging love of God?
The Home in God’s Mission
The home has always been essential in the mission of God. The early Christians gathered to hear the apostles’ teaching, eat, and fellowship together in each other’s homes (Acts 2:42). Mark’s mom hosted a late-night prayer meeting for Peter amid persecution (Acts 12:12). Martha opened her home to Jesus (Luke 10:38), and after Lydia and her household were baptized, she invited Paul to stay in her home (Acts 16:15). Priscilla and Aquila invited Apollos into their home as they discipled the young leader (Acts 18:26). What if, in this time of uncertainty and fear, our homes can be places of mission, where friends and neighbors experience the steadfast, unchanging love of God? Click To Tweet
The Old Covenant similarly shows the centrality of the home. God established a place of welcome in the garden of Eden for Adam (Gen. 2:8). Abraham insisted the men stay in his home and prepared a feast for them (Gen.19:2–3). Rahab housed the spies as an act of faith in God (Josh. 2:1). The widow of Zarephath prepared, welcomed, and fed Elijah (1 Kings 17:9). The Shunammite woman continually opened her home and fed Elisha, and ultimately prepared a permanent resting place for him when he passed through (2 Kings 4:8–10).
The places God’s people inhabited and the resources entrusted to them were a backdrop for God to work. How, then, do we prepare ourselves to establish homes that are places of welcome and mission instead of places of retreat? Hospitality grows from our posture, readiness, and expectation as we delight in the warmth of God’s welcome to us.
Posture of Openness
The central disposition of God’s people is that of openness to God, which makes us attuned to others. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), and when we remember our rescue, we can’t help but be filled with awe and worship. This posture of abiding in Christ leads us to extend ourselves to love and care for anyone he places in our life—it leads to a posture of openness. We show off God’s welcome when we create space to receive friends, strangers, family, and even those with whom we disagree.
Readiness to Be Uncomfortable
Opening our front door and setting the table does not come without cost. We have to be willing to lay aside our preferences and comfort to be present. The meal preparation, the act of creating a warm space, prayer, and the curiosity to enter into another’s story is work. Our intentional care, long before the doorbell rings, can create the opportunity for people to be loved. The Spirit invites us into the work and discomfort of hospitality as ministers of grace. We willingly sacrifice, and in that, we show off Jesus’s way. He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). It isn’t fancy, but hospitality is holy work if we avail ourselves of the opportunity to be an outpost of God’s welcome and warmth. Click To Tweet
Expectant to the Spirit’s Work
The expectant heart—willing to be inconvenienced and grounded in God’s love—can be confident God will meet it. There’s an energy and sense of privilege knowing that people can encounter the good news of Jesus through your availability and surrender. God’s kingdom enters through the ordinary elements of this life. To speak gospel truth, wrestle with doubts, confess sin, share stories, and be witnesses to people experiencing God’s love is the greatest adventure for us as Christians.
There have been moments in my kitchen, around the table, and in our living room that have seemed insignificant—but God was working. It isn’t fancy, but hospitality is holy work if we avail ourselves of the opportunity to be an outpost of God’s welcome and warmth. May we not grow inward but open our hearts and homes to all who need it. In doing so, we’ll find it’s exactly what we need as we remember how Christ has welcomed us.