As my imperfect journey of faith and ministry moves on I have been given to pondering the importance of hospitality and the rewards that come from giving our time and attention to our neighbor whoever that might be.
Last week we had some friends over for a bbq and I was sharing about the key element of risk in determining where our relationships go. I was talking about a person who I met in the taxi who had a very dysfunctional life but was also clearly looking for support. As he spoke I knew immediately that the "risk moment" had arrived very quickly. I could drop him off with a polite platitude or I could offer to meet him at another time for coffee and thus begin a relationship.
Thankfully for me I took that "risk" because the rewards he has shown towards me in friendship and support have been huge. This is a man who has been through a 2 week rehab program to overcome alcohol abuse, who has just avoided a jail term and is on a 12 month good behavior bond and who works long hours on the production line of a factory. His life is busy, tiring and stressful and yet he continues to support my ministry although he is still not sure of the Christian faith.
As I was mulling over this concept of the "risk moment" where we can choose to hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit or switch off and think of our own selfish diaries I read the following in Church Re-Imagined by Doug Pagitt:
"At its core, hospitality is an act of faith. It is faith in God and faith in people. It is an open posture that views others not as threats, but as participants in the process of one another's redemption" (p.149).
What a beautiful concept - "Participants in one another's redemption" - you wouldn't want to miss out on such a gift would you?