"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me."
June 30, 2023, Words By: Trisha Welstad, Image By: unknown
I love being hospitable — welcoming people into our community, our conversations and our home. Making space for others, regardless of their background, is a part of our life. That has often involved having people stay with us, sharing meals around our table, and extending open invitations for them to join us wherever we go.
I’ve always been taught that hospitality is something I extend to others.
But when I read the lectionary for today, it casts hospitality in an expanded light. When we jump in at Matthew 10:40, we find Jesus concluding a lengthy and heavy passage. He has been addressing the disciples’ mission, their need to travel light, the dangers they will face, and the expectation to follow him over even their closest relations. It’s not the commissioning service you typically expect, but he does finally send them with a hope-filled truth.
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”
A part of the disciples’ call is to be recipients of hospitality from those to whom they are sent, even as they anticipate the hardships and risks of following Jesus into the unknown. However, they are assured that provision will be made for them on their journey — God will be with them.
The other part of the disciples’ call is to extend the hospitality of Christ by embodying God’s welcoming presence in a broken and challenging world, proclaiming the good news and bringing healing wherever they go.
Over the coming weeks our family will be doing a lot of going. We are going to meet with extended family. We are moving from our home to live in a new neighborhood. We are starting at new schools. There is a bit of grief in going as we are leaving what is known and comfortable. There is also some fear that creating new rhythms and finding welcome in new relationships will be hard. But we also have a sense of hope about the possibilities that lie ahead.
Knowing that Christ is with us wherever we go brings a sense of peace as we step into the unknown. His presence opens our hearts to the kindness and hospitality offered by others. No matter how we’re received, having Him by our side allows us to live in sync with the One who welcomes us and helps us welcome others.
While we have experienced hardships, we have also been welcomed many times in the past by neighbors, family, and new friends. And true to form, a neighbor has already introduced herself to me and blessed us as we move into our new home. Glimmers of welcome are already appearing! My personal challenge is to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace the welcome extended by those to whom we’re sent. Ultimately, the assurance lies in knowing that God, who is both by my side and beyond me, will be the one to extend all the welcome as I remain faithful to my calling.
Is it easier to give hospitality to others or receive it?
Consider letting someone help you today. What might God offer them from your being a recipient of their welcome?