Touching Hospitality

I have an incredibly heartwarming story that I would like to share my readers.

A few days ago my wife and I went to visit a new member of our church. He lives in an area of town that I had never visited before. After we had done our visitation and as he was escorting us home, we passed by a big compound that had one of the biggest houses I had ever seen in Singida. The big compound and the house absorbed my full attention. It was clear that the man who lived here was very wealthy. I coudn’t help myself, and I pointed out the house to my brother .

My brother confirmed my thoughts. “Yes”, he said. “This man is very rich.”

But he also had an interesting story to tell me about this rich man. He said, “Recently, this man was ‘sending off’ his daughter who was getting married. I did not know about the occasion, of course, but I was surprised one morning to find this man standing at my front door, and when I opened it, he held out an invitation card to me and said, ‘Neighbor, I am inviting you to my daughter’s send-off party, you and your entire family.’

“At first, I thought it was just me because I live relatively close to him. But it was not so. The man had personally visited every household within a radius of a mile or so of his house, and for every family, he had some warm, personal words of invitation. Obviously, it was something that he had thought and planned pretty well.

“On the day of the celebrations, people flooded the entire compound and beyond, and there were tables and tables of food lined up to almost half a mile! And we all ate our fill.”

As the brother spoke about this rich man, I felt tears stinging my eyes. I turned and looked again at the house and I thought about this rich man. I recalled the many people doing these kinds of festivities every day, and who cannot even invite their closest neighbor. They invite only their kin and friends.

How about we who believe? Jesus had some choice words for the haughty, religious people of his day, people who made a difference out of people because of class or other prejudices. In Luke 14 we read of how Jesus was invited for a dinner in a particular home. The Bible states that the man who invited Jesus for this grand meal was “one of the chief Pharisees” (Lk. 14:1). Obviously, a man of high class.

Of course, the man had invited other people also. But when Jesus saw the kind of people that this rich Pharisee had invited to eat his free meal, He told him,

“12 When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. 13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”  (Lk. 14:12-14)

Pure, prejudice-less love for his fellow man is the greatest virtue that a believer in Jesus Christ can have. Jesus said that a man or woman who has this virtue can look forward to a rich recompense at the resurrection of the just.

Have a lovely Sunday, all of you.

[A young girl prepares dinner for her siblings in an African village]

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