Many of you know that I spend a lot of time at my favorite coffee place, Coffee Choices. Part of the reason is because I really like coffee, especially the variety of flavors that Coffee Choices offers (Black Raspberry and Blueberry Cinnamon Swirl are my favorites). Another part of the reason I spend so much time there is the hospitality that they practice. When I set up camp at my favorite table by the front window on Thursdays to eat lunch and write my sermon, I never have to get up. They always make sure my cup is full and that I have everything I need (they treat all the customers that way…not just me). The hospitality keeps me coming back.
In the Romans text for Sunday, Paul urges the church in Rome to “practice hospitality”. And this is more than making friends and family feel welcome in your home. But practicing hospitality is making people feel welcome, valued, special, etc when ever and where ever you are. If, upon my first visit to Coffee Choices, they were not hospitable, I probably would not have returned again, but because they make me feel like a valued customer I have no problem giving them my business. And because I have developed relationships with many people down there through hospitality, I have had many fruitful and inspiring conversations.
Imagine the impact we could have on people if we showed that same hospitality to all people at all times and in all places. What if we made people feel like they are to most valued and special person in the world. People would stop and take notice and want to be around you. And the more people are around you, the more opportunities you have to show the sincere love of Christ to them. But don’t let your hospitality be for selfish reasons, as Paul says in Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere“. And when love is sincere, people will notice.
The people down at Coffee Choices are not putting on an act to get people to come back again, their hospitality is sincere, and THAT brings me back again and again. Let YOUR love be sincere for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.