I am sure many have experienced the following. Growing up, my mom and dad would play host to friends/family visits. My family back in-the-day was mom, dad, grandma, brother, and me. We lived in a split level house. When the time drew near for the visit the whole property from the outside to the inside was made ready for their arrival and stay (no matter how brief or long). We each had our duties and responsibilities and carried them out to make the whole yard, house, rooms, meals, atmosphere, and so forth - a welcoming place, a place you would want to stay and come back. I know that might sound like a slogan for a hotel chain, but that is the kind of energy mom and dad put into hosting and STILL DO!
This kind of taxing, draining sacrifice to accommodate family or friends is sometimes done willfully with a cheerful heart and at other times out of the necessity of a situation. Within these two ways, one might have family or friends stay that aren't exactly on the Favorites List. All this and much more has to be considered and was considered in my home with mom and dad doing a stellar job at whatever was thrown at them throughout the years. Mom and Dad, you were and are the best hosts for anything in our home and I thank you for all your time, energy, love, and sacrifice you gave to make anybody feel at home.
Many of the guests, if not all, did not pay anything for their visit. Again, even though I sound like we were a hotel, we were not - to that degree. Many of the guests did not work or help with any of the continuing chores that had to be done in order for the creature-comforts to materialize. A hug, a kiss, an "I love you" and "Come see us" was all that was usually given at the end of the stay. The thing is we were not expecting anything more. Mom and dad had poured their life out because they loved their guest and loved to host them. But now I see, their service and sacrifice went beyond mere hosting, it was showing God's love to anybody, especially family, that needed to experience His loving kindness. "Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." - Psalm 63:3-4
Now I turn to God's example - Jesus. Father God sent Jesus into our home that He created, became the creation of His image - man, and proceeded to show humanity how to host God's Love and serve it unconditionally. Father God prepared for the arrival of His Word with John the Baptist's teachings and all the symbolic items of the Tabernacle of Moses and Solomon's Temple that pointed the way to The Way - Jesus. Then Jesus hosted God's heart through His life and in the end gave all His mind, soul, and strength as a love sacrifice for me and you. Jesus paid for it all. The eternal love He hosted and gave was and still is free. It is a gift.
God's Son was the Visitor to this world in which He made and yet He acted the Host. He was the one who shared our griefs and sorrows. He was the one who was not only nailed to the cross for our sins (wounded for our transgressions), but He suffered for that which would lead us to sin also (bruised for our iniquities). He took all the joy robbing upon Himself so we would know peace (the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him). He took all the whips and lashings so we would experience healing (by His wounds we are healed). He taught, performed miracles, discipled, commissioned, and loved us so much He sacrificed Himself for us only to rise from the grave and leave again. However, He has promised He is coming back to be the ultimate host of the world/earth. Until then Christians are to host in His Name and gather more Believers to work as hosts of God's love to the world.
A major point to remember is that Christians do not have to be in their home, church, or some structure to host the loving-kindness of God. Christians are to carry that attitude and available kind of service around everywhere we go, SO THAT we set an example for all men and women -
- "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)
- "set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)
- "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Galatians 6:10)
So, as my title suggests - are you a visitor or host? Does your life reflect more of a receiving or giving flavor? There is nothing wrong with humbly receiving from others, just allow the scales to tip more toward giving and you and I will become an even better Host of the Living God!