On Reciprocal Christian Living (Hospitality, Community & Loneliness)

“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” Romans 12:13

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” Agnes Gonxha Bojaxha, an Albanian-born nun spent her entire adult life reaching out to the untouchables and unwashed of Calcutta India. Her very being was consumed with a singular purpose – to view every orphan, addict, street-person, leper and other disadvantaged and oppressed neighbor as a real time manifestation of our Saviour. The entire amount of her Nobel Prize was poured back into outreach to the dispossessed. She loved the stranger in her midst thus demonstrating the true Biblical definition of hospitality [Φιλοξενιαν = love + stranger/alien/visitor/sojourner]
One of the strengths of our covenant life together at New Life in Christ Church is that we have a healthy expression of sanctified sociology understood as the study of relationships. It shows up everywhere – our Greeters Ministry, Care Groups, Hosting Missionaries, Summer Open House Fellowships, Sunday Luncheons for visitors, Thanksgiving Outreach, Food Pantry, Deacon’s Assistance Fund, Blood Drive, Taste of Heaven Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Evangelism Explosion, Jail and Homeless Shelter ministries, etc. Each of these outreaches, in concert with our equipping ministries demonstrate our comitment to follow Jesus into a lifestyle of reciprocal Christian community. That is we are a “one another” congregation. We are discovering increasingly the blessing those dynamics which are inherent in Pastor Doug’s vision of our becoming a “graciously inrusive community.” (This is so counter-intuitive for most Americans where personal peace and affluence are the idols we place on the pedestal of overly privatized lives.) Many of our neighbors are quietly desperate, relatively unskilled in satisfying family life and marriage, anxiety-ridden and lonely as they forestall worries about aging and financial security. Many won’t answer the door or the phone.

God’s Word gives us a menu of “one another” injunctions designed to form local expressions of the Body of Christ. These “one another” dynamics constitute the very fabric of hospitality in preparation the ultimate demonstration of God’s love of those for us who were cut-off by our sin and self-absorption – The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Here is a brief survey:

• Love one another Romans 12: 10
• Live in harmony with one another Romans 12: 16
• Welcome one another Romans 15: 7
• Greet one another 1 Corinthians 16: 20
• Comfort one another, agree with one another 2 Corinthians 13: 11
• Serve one another Galatians 5: 11
• Bear one another’s burdens Galatians 6: 2
• Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another Ephesians 4: 32
• Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ Ephesians 5: 21
• Teach and admonish one another Colossians 3: 16
• Encourage one another and build one another up 1 Thessalonians 5: 11
• Seek to do good to one another 1 Thessalonians 5: 15
• Exhort one another Hebrews 3: 13
• Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another James 5: 16
• Show hospitality to one another 1 Peter 4: 19
• Have fellowship with one another 1 John 1: 7
As we fulfill our vision of Building the Kindom by the Training of Leaders it will be happen to the degree that we mature in the dynamics of Reciprocal Christian Living and serve one another, our neighbors and our world. Will you prayerfully seek Christ pursuant to using your gifts, resources, time and energy as a living priority?

Gary K. Sexton
Psalm 37: 4