I grew up in the same house in a small town in southeast Georgia until I turned 21 and left for college. Before that, my mom grew up in that same house. In 1950, my grandparents built that house and my mom was born in that house and spent 55 of her 60 years there. My family has a lot of memories in that house, not just for my brother and I, but for my mom and her siblings as they grew up there. My grandparents created a culture in their home that my mom and her siblings experienced. As my brother and I grew up, my parents created their own culture of what life would be like. We were greatly influenced by this culture and in many ways has formed the way we live now.
Home is a special place. For a lot of people, home is the safe space with many great memories. For others, home is not a safe place, and often not the place of good childhood memories. For my family, they always made our home a place of hospitality. The culture that they created that impacted me the most was their hospitality. They often invited strangers in our home and those in need of a place to stay. From a very young age, I remember people living in our home for the summer. My parents took them in as their own and would cook for them, do their laundry, ask them the same questions that they asked us; they were part of our family. This is the heart of the Gospel. In God’s incredible grace, He sent his son Jesus to take our sin, die on the cross, and defeat death by rising from the dead. In Christ, we have been adopted as sons and daughters of the king and we have been given the keys to the kingdom. From their identity in Christ, my parents have shown others the same love that they received from Jesus. They are hospitable, not because they want to be nice people, but because of the incredible grace of God that motivates their hearts to show others how amazing He is.
Within the last year, my parents sold this house. The house that my mom spent most of her life in. The house that my brother and I grew up in. But this home was only “home” because of the culture that was created there. My parents have a new house now, but it’s just as “home” as the other because of the culture that is being created in this new place. As Christians, God is calling us to use our homes to show others what He is like. Dhati Lewis has said, “Our houses are God’s houses, to be used first and foremost for Him. The houses we live in are tools for making disciples, a weapon to assault the gates of hell. Our home is a place where our family (the Church) grows in unity with one another.”
The houses we have are to be used for the kingdom. As Christians, may we continue to grow in understanding how to use our homes to show the incredible grace of God. My hope for all of us is that we grow in showing the same hospitality that God has shown us in His incredible grace. May we grow in using all things we have been given to make much of Jesus in this world. May many people come to experience God’s grace this year because of the outpouring of generous hospitality to others in the same that we have received from Jesus.