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Welcome strangers to your table

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By Dave Henning / August 31, 2019

“As you welcome strangers to your table, you are welcoming God himself.  Something holy happens around a dinner table that will never happen in a sanctuary. . . .  Hospitality opens the door to uncommon community.”- Max Lucado

[Jesus] replied, “Go to the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near.  I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.”- Matthew 26:18 (NIV)

Max Lucado concludes Chapter 6 of Outlive Your Life as he asserts that something happens around a dinner table that never occurs in a church sanctuary.  For example, in a sanctuary, you see the backs of heads, one person speaks, and services come with time limits.  However, around a dinner table, you see facial expressions, everyone has a voice, and there’s time to talk.

Therefore, when you open the door to someone, you send the message that the person matters to you and to God.  In addition, many people go through an entire day with no meaningful contact with others.  As a result, Max offers four hospitality practices:

  1. Issue a genuine invitation.  Because people weather so many daily rejections, your invitation alters their life.
  2. Make a big deal of their arrival.  Approach this as a parade-worthy moment.  You’ve invited God’s children to your house!
  3. Address the needs of your guests.  Share food and drink.  Take time to talk and listen.  And, leave the television and invasive music off!
  4. Send them out with a blessing.  Leave no doubt in the minds of your guests that you’re elated they came.  Finally, offer a prayer for their safety.

In conclusion, Max supplies these words of encouragement. Furthermore, he refers to the Emmaus-bound disciples:

“We still encounter people on the road.  And sometimes we sense a peculiar warmth, an affection.  We detect an urge to open our doors to them.  In these moments let’s heed the inner voice.  We never know whom we may be hosting for dinner.”

Today’s question: How do you detect an urge to welcome strangers to your table?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “People who stop at the gate”

About the author

Dave Henning


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