I have a number of mottos or slogans that I use to remind myself of what I am suppose to be about. One of these is that no matter what I will always be hospitable. I firmly believe that hospitality is one of the key characteristics of a believer. But isn't a motto like 'I will always be hospitable' flexible. Surely there are exceptions. We need to be able to judge each situation carefully. God gave us brains and we should use our common sense. I think that last sentence has been used more times to take us off of the path that God wants us on than just about any other. How many times have you said it? I have said it loads. I am coming to believe that God doesn't think much of 'common sense'.
A couple of weeks ago we were contacted by another team in another country. They wanted to come to Gondor for awhile. I know these guys. They are highly competent, driven, sold out no hold out kinda guys. The last time they were here they were stressed out and made some decisions I disagreed with- nothing immoral or anything like that- just basic differences in how we make decisions. Anyway, I wrote them and said that coming here was not a good idea. I told them that if they needed a break they should go somewhere where they would not be so stressed. I challenged their reasoning to leave their own country of service at all. I was rude. I violated my hospitality principle. If you knew the whole story you might say, "Hey, Strider lighten up! You had a right to ask the questions you did." Yeah, I did have a 'right'. But I was wrong. I found out later that these guys were not looking for a break. There were truckloads of reasons they had to leave that I knew nothing about. I had judged them and in doing so found myself wanting. They needed me to take them in and be hospitable during a difficult time and instead found a guy with a three year old axe to grind.
So, what's the motto? Always be hospitable. Will we stick to the Lord's game plan this time? I hope so. There is a lot of stuff about love in the Bible. The Lord has given us loads of verses which amount to very specific instructions about loving each other, caring for each other, being hospitable. Of course there are times when it isn't a good idea. There are times when we need to draw boundaries. There are times when it is just common sense to push someone away. Every single time we do that we will be less like Jesus. When we open ourselves to loving others unconditionally, to always inviting them in no matter what we will be vulnerable. People will take advantage of us. People will wrong us. We will get tired, run out of resources. People will betray us and eventually we will be crucified. When we are then we are most like our Lord. Others may betray me but I will try very hard not to betray myself again. That team deserves my help not because of who they are but because they belong to my Master. I will serve them and in doing so become more like Him.