‘He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”’ (v6) Isaiah 49:5–7

Christianity is born out of hospitality, which means ‘friendliness to guests’. And everyone living on God’s earth is a guest. As Christ’s disciples, we are invited by Jesus to offer the gift of friendliness.

Not all of us feel comfortable in a social setting. It’s one reason God creates His family, often expressed through church congregations. Yet, the Church’s primary purpose is to reflect the present reality of Jesus.

Too often it becomes introverted and consumed with its own existence. The Church does not exist to facilitate church.

We know that the church is not its furnishings but its people. Piles of stones cemented into a symbol of religion mark the landscape, yet can only ever offer physical shelter from the rain.

As God’s living stones, we enjoy the challenge and opportunity to welcome, feed, encourage and be friends with anyone looking for some company. Loneliness is on the rise.

In England alone, twenty-five million people report feeling lonely ‘occasionally, sometimes or often’. The shepherds responded to their personal invitation to visit Jesus.

We can also extend an invitation to people to come and hang out with us, not for our formal meetings, but to enjoy coffee, cake and conversation. Mission is so fun!

Hospitality lies at the heart of mission and ministry. Make it yours too in this year ahead.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Matt. 25:34–40; Luke 14:12–14; Heb. 13:1–3; 1 Pet. 2:4–12.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Hospitality is offering the gift of friendliness to people. How can you and your church be more hospitable within your community?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, I am grateful knowing that I am Your friend. Help me to find ways to share that friendship with others. Amen.’

Photo by Olumide Ajakaye on Wikimedia Commons

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.