Typically, the time between winter and early spring is my hibernation season. However, there was a notable shift this year. Because of several losses in 2018, I reflected in the area of my relationships towards the end of last year. I recommitted to being more intentional in building solid relationships within the church. For me personally, this included being aware of and accepting others invitations to connect. I began to accept more invitations to other's homes for holiday socials and football watch parties.
However, it did not stop there. I also became determined to unapologetically pursue those which whom I desire connection. Those sisters or brothers who you see in the fellowship - who may admire them from afar, respect them for their joy or perseverance, but never spend time with. You say things like, "Let's get together sometime soon!" but months pass by with nothing on your calendar. This time, I got bold and started inviting myself into their homes! I pulled 'a Jesus' on them like in Luke 10:1-6:
"Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-figtree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly."
I love Jesus' authority here. Obviously, Zacchaeus was intrigued by Jesus (I mean he climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of him). But, it was still pretty bold of Jesus to invite himself into a house that wasn't his! Jesus was not consumed with Zacchaeus' status, reputation, or even whether not he was inconveniencing Zacchaeus. I was so inspired by this interaction.
I recently returned from a week in North Carolina visiting family. I love being home because I can just show up at a family member's doorstep! Family always has open doors. There's no pretense or explanation needed. We simply want to reconnect, love up on each other, and bond. My desire is to have this reflected in my spiritual family in Austin. This sincere love - as modeled in Acts 2:46-47 - will extend to my neighbors and friends to win their hearts for Christ. I know it begins with me, asking and inviting.
But so many times, we can be deterred from inviting others into our home. We can have self-imposed limitations. I know for me I often think, "My cooking is not stellar, I live on the opposite side of town, or I don't have time to clean." We can also hesitate when tempted to invite ourselves to others people's homes. We think, "I'll be a burden, they are already so busy, or it will seem too pushy". Yet when we reflect on the heart of Jesus, like his interaction with Zacchaeus and also encounters like Martha and Mary, we are reminded that it's not about entertaining at all. Whether you're hosting a 30 minute coffee meetup or a weekend overnight stay, it is all about connecting in heart and spirit.
By following Jesus' example, I had an encouraging Christmas in Austin. Through inviting myself into the world of others, I had great fellowship with my spiritual and physical family as well as other friends. It was a great way to wrap up the year!
What barriers keep you from opening your home to those in your life and community?
What keeps you from inviting yourself into the life and home of others?