Last week I traveled with my traveling bestie to Boston. We checked out the Monet exhibit with it’s ‘Boston stories’ and the power of visual narratives on display by the Paper Stories of Ekua Holmes at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and enjoyed some downtown Concord shopping. We were surrounded by creativity, collage, children’s books, and Christian community. I didn’t know how empty my creativity bucket was until it started getting refilled.
The best part of the trip was the radically ordinary hospitality we experienced at two dear friends’ homes. Both hostesses, and their families, embraced our presence with great food and table-life filled with sacred conversations.
Rosaria Butterfield, in The Gospel Comes With A House Key, writes that Christian hospitality is what loved her to Jesus when she was openly hostile to the good news of the gospel. Dinner times of table-life with ordinary food and conversations regularly, faithfully offered by a humble couple were the key to opening her mind and heart to living a life for Jesus. Today, she and her family open their home, spare room, table, and crockpot in ways that would make most of us shudder. She reminds me of just how good the good news is.
Butterfield challenges her Christian readers to be ready to assume the posture of host, obeying God’s command to love our neighbor, or the posture of guest, graciously and humbly receiving nourishment and care from our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Ordinary hospitality works on the principle of tithing. God commands we are either returning 10% to our church or receiving aid from our church because we desperately need help. Both giving and receiving bless the church.”
There was so much laughter, so many cups of tea, and multiple conversations around the gathering of God’s people and His Word. One conversation in particular I wish to share.
Sometimes mighty warriors stay with the stuff.
In 1 Samuel 25 we read how David’s men have a run in with Nabal, a Calebite. David sends a small group of ten young men to Nabal asking for favor, asking for help. Nabal is beyond salty, but ‘surly and mean in his dealings’. When the ten return and report to David, it doesn’t go well. David tells his Mighty Men to ‘strap on your sword’. ‘About 400 men went up with David, while 200 ‘STAY WITH THE SUPPLIES.’ The KJV reads, “abode by the stuff.”
Abigail, Nabal’s wife, goes on to save the day, but of the 600 of David’s Mighty Men, 200 of them stay by the stuff.
Who are the mighty ones who may not be ‘strapping on their swords’ yet use their swords staying by the stuff? It’s one thing to love on those who are on the front lines of the ministry you lead, but we all have the mighty with swords who ‘stay by the stuff’. Finance Committees who have to make big decisions for the local church as a whole. Trustees who have to answer for a whole lot of ‘stuff’. Your church saints who can surround you and your kids in prayer. Do you have a prayer team? Are we only reaching out to the local church leadership when we want something, or also checking on them in the parking lot before and after services.
Perhaps YOU are the mighty who are called to ‘abode by the stuff.’ While the denomination and the world is making so much noise, we are staying the course of making disciples of Jesus Christ in our local church, in our backyard, from our spare room, table and crockpot. Be not distracted nor consumed by the battles elsewhere, but rather strap on your sword and abode by the stuff well.
I’m still processing and holding dear the experiences of last week. Thanks to the hospitality of our hosts, Mr. Bob is getting to taste some new recipes, which he is all-in for. He is our family’s #1 Mighty Man. He stays by the stuff. I can not do what I do and be who I am if it were not for Mr. Bob staying by our stuff.
Who is staying by your stuff? How can you show your appreciation and gratitude this week for the mighty who stay by the stuff?
“It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.” 3 John 1:3