I was thinking today about levels of welcome and hospitality in gatherings. Here is a little list a made as the day progressed:
- There are places that we are not allowed to be and if we show up we will be thrown out.
- Some places we are not welcome but will be tolerated with some hostility if we are there
- Some places are open to us but no one notices if we are not there.
- Then there are public gathering where everyone is welcome but it is impersonal
- Some place are public and you are noticed and recognized by a few people
- Higher on the scale are places where people are invited but if we are not there we are not missed if absent
- Even higher is the personal invitation
- Higher still is the event where we have been invited and if we don't show up we are missed
- Farther up is the gathering where the host will make special arrangements to get us there if needed and wants to lock down a commitment
- Maybe a notch higher is the group that is willing to come to us if need be because they desire our company.
- Then there is the gathering that won't be the same if we are not there
There are many grades in-between aren't there. Grades of hostility, indifference, welcome, true hospitality and friendship.
Here are a couple of examples of God's hospitality.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." - Revelation 3:20 ESV
"In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going... I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." - John 14:2-4, 18-20 ESV
We are wanted in Heaven... truly deeply wanted.
God is willing to come and get us so that we will be there. Evil is not welcome but those who are washed in the blood of Christ and wear the ever white new robe of righteousness that God gives to every believer in Christ are not only welcome... they are wanted and known.
God doesn't just tolerate people. He desires and misses people. He loves the group and each individual in the group.
Jesus hated the shame of the cross but it was needed to open the door so that anyone who believed would be able to come home. Anyone... Yes... but not just anyone.... you... He did it for you personally.
Oh God help me to show people that they are wanted. Fill me with Your love so that people will see Your open door. Let me have Your sense of hospitality. No one loves like You love.