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#digzpc : Hospitality

I find the word “Hospitality” a little intimidating. What comes to mind is an elegant gathering in a picturesque home where the perfect hors d’oeuvres are served on silver trays. Classical music floats through the air as people speak softly and laugh politely.  Hospitality, simply put, is not one of my gifts and so picturing it in action is a little difficult for me.  But, regardless of what a gathering in someone’s home may actually look like, I believe God calls us to connect with people in other ways, not solely in a controlled environment where we have decided what things will look like and who will participate.

Jesus connected with all sorts of people wherever he went.  Some of his interactions developed into relationships, as with the disciples, Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Other connections were quick encounters that, at times, proved to be life-changing, as with the woman at the well and the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.   

My hometown church has a sign over their door as you leave the service which says, “You are now entering your mission field”. While I love to travel to other countries and serve others for Jesus, our mission as Christians is to love people: to encourage them and bring them hope, all for Christ, right where we are.

What does that look like for me? I ask God to help me shine Him, to be His light and life to others each day.  Then, when I go out, I greet pretty much everyone with whom I come into contact: the convenience store clerk, the restaurant worker, the older woman sitting on a bench at Wal-Mart, the teen waiting for a ride home from church. I ask them how their day is going. If it’s going great, I’ll be happy for them.  If not, I’ll let them know I’ll be praying for them.  It’s not the words that make the difference in these minute encounters. What touches others is that someone took the time to ask and truly care about their response.

In thinking of how Jesus ministered to and cared about everyone, what might this look like for you? What suggestions do you have for others? How would you like to challenge yourself in this area?  #digzpc

#digzpc is the title of ZPC's Lenten series about spiritual practices. We encourage you to make comments about your experience with the practice of the week, which is simplicity this week. Also find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, if you participate in these media. When commenting there, please always use #digzpc so we can find your comments. Are you ready to dig?

 

 

#digzpc | simplicity

How ironic that the word simplicity stirs so many thoughts, emotions, and feelings. As I was driving into the office today, I was thinking about simplicity. In a world and a life that often doesn’t feel simple what do I have to say about simplicity?

For the sake of keeping it simple, I thought about how Jesus lived his life. Was simplicity a standard that he adhered to? The first images that pop up in my mind are how Jesus traveled.

Jesus traveled very light during his three years of ministry. At one point He explained to those traveling with him, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" (Luke 9:58). He did not pack up a few heavy suitcases for the journey, but he ventured out trusting his Father to take care of him and provide. What about those 12 guys Jesus was ministering with?

Matthew 10:1 says, “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” These would be the twelve that Jesus was around all the time. Christ made himself available to the masses. However, he gave all the behind-the-scenes teaching to this group of uneducated men. The simplicity in relationship here is hard to grasp. I would think that Jesus would pour intensely into maybe 100 or 200 people. Wouldn’t it be easier to reach the world with those kinds of numbers? The Son of God simplifies who he spends the most time with even further.

Jesus could be found often in the presence of His heavenly Father. Jesus, fully man and fully God, needed time to sneak away and be with God the Father! How much more important should it be for us to quiet our lives to be before God. Mark explains, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Do I have too much going on that I can’t get away and just be alone before God?

Looking at the simplicity of how Jesus lived compared to my life only leaves me with more questions. Do I have too much stuff in this world? Is Jesus calling me to sell all or some of my stuff and rely more on him? Do I have simplicity in relationships or am I stretching myself too thin? Do I make time to simply be before and with God alone?

Today we were asked to give something up or away that will simplify our lives. This brought yet more questions to my mind. Have you given something up or away? Was it difficult? If so, how? Have there been any outcomes to your actions?

#digzpc is the title of ZPC's Lenten series about spiritual practices. We encourage you to make comments about your experience with the practice of the week, which is simplicity this week. Also find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, if you participate in these media. When commenting there, please always use #digzpc so we can find your comments.

 

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