14 Jan Spirit-Led Inviting
“I’m throwing a neighborhood party next week. Who should I invite? Definitely the Smiths, the Williams, and the Goldmans; they are so much fun! Just my neighbors who I really like and know well. What about that new lady from up north? Nah, I don’t know her. She probably wouldn’t fit in with our group anyway. Besides, what would I have to talk to her about? No one will mention the party to her so she will never know.”
Brenda thinks these things to herself as she plans a menu and guest list. It’s not that she doesn’t like her new neighbor; they are just different people and have nothing in common, nothing to talk about. As Brenda is walking down the street, putting invitations in the mailboxes, she sees the new neighbor leaving her house. She knows it is wrong to leave the new neighbor out, but she can’t help it…or can she? In Luke 6:35, Jesus goes way beyond telling us to love those we don’t know or those who are different; He tells us to love our enemies! And in 1 Peter 4:9, Paul tells us to offer hospitality without grumbling. Brenda feels convicted by her actions but continues on with her comfortable, self-pleasing agenda.
Years later, God brings this woman to the front of Brenda’s life again. Brenda learns that this woman desperately wanted to be her friend. She desperately wanted to feel welcomed, accepted, and loved in her new surroundings. Brenda’s heart is broken because of how she acted. She sees now how hurtful, and ungodly her self-promoting, self-protecting, judgmental attitude was to her neighbor. She felt the Holy Spirit tugging at her to do the right thing but she could not give up control of her own plans, her own wishes and her own desires in order to do what he was asking. She missed an opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to display kindness, gentleness, goodness, and love through her to her neighbor.
For reflection –
- Read 2 Peter 1:3-9.
- How can God’s great and precious promises help us gain control over our own evil desires?
- What is Paul’s purpose in giving us a progressive list?
- The original Greek word for love in this passage is agape. How does self-control play a part in our having godly love for others?
Heavenly Father, forgive me when I exclude others instead of being inviting as you would have me to be. You invited me into your family and you have called me to be inviting to others. Help me, Lord, not to give in to my sinful desires to try to make my life all about me and my happiness.~Women’s Ministry Team