Like most women do after church is over, I was busy talking. And talking some more. I mean, hey . . . Sunday only comes once a week, and some of these people I only see once a week! That should be reason enough for all the talking.
While I was so busy at this talking thing, I did not notice that my husband had moved quickly out the front door to catch a visitor before he left. For some reason, Lowell had felt compelled to talk with this man and so followed him out the door. Meanwhile, I was still talking.
Lowell ended up inviting this man for lunch at our home and then said he needed to go ask his wife. That was me. His wife. Usually, Lowell will ask me first, but the situation doesn’t always allow that . . . so he was hoping I would be on board with this plan.
I suppose you’re wondering what I said.
I said yes. And in that yes was a lesson God had been teaching me for some time.
A home with love has expandable walls.
A heart filled with His love has expandable walls as well.
This man was visiting from another state and big city . . . and he had quite a story to tell. His life couldn’t have been more opposite from ours – yet God had led him to the truth of the Gospel and had shown Himself faithful in horrific circumstances. Raised in a secular Jewish home, he had went searching for truth in so many areas and had ended up deep in the occult for over 15 years. How God brought him out of that was an amazing story to hear!
During the week he was visiting the area, I could not shake the feeling that I was being taught a lesson – that there was yet another area I needed to give over to my King . . . it was my home. And so I laid my little home upon His altar and prayed a prayer like this:
If You can use my home to heal the brokenhearted,
to encourage the saints,
to love the sinner,
and to further the Kingdom . . .
then it is Yours.
Now I would see what my King would do with it.
We were able to have this visitor in our home several times that week, with Biblical discussions that went late into the night. It was in one point of a conversation that he looked at Lowell and I . . . and asked this question: “Were you guys expecting me?”
Now we had not known this man even existed before Sunday! How could we be expecting him?! So we told him no. But curiosity is one of my fatal flaws and I asked “Why?”
He sort of shrugged and said that earlier he had had a feeling he would be sitting here talking to us. Not to us exactly, but to Mennonite people in their home on his trip to Idaho. And discussing Biblical issues with them.
I can still get goosebumps when I think of that conversation. All the “what ifs” went pouring through my mind. What if I had been too stuck on a perfect meal to let this man in our home? What if I had not been willing to readjust my schedule or my kitchen table to include one more soul? What if I had said no to my husband’s request? What if I had closed my heart to someone who needed encouragement?
Would God then have said, “I will find someone else?”
I have learned that in opening my home . . . I must also open my heart.
I must be willing to walk through mud with them. Love them through the hard times. Listen when the tears flow. Laugh in the fun times, and rejoice in their joy. They say love multiplies the joy . . . and divides the sorrow. I want this to be my home.
This giving of my home is not just setting food before a person. Although it might not hurt to avoid the mistake I made once by serving moldy buns for Sunday dinner! And let’s face it . . . many times we just really don’t feel like it. I am not saying there is never a time to ask someone to postpone their visit to our homes. But it’s better if these times are more the exception than the rule. And perhaps you have a small home or small budget. But most homes can squeeze one or two more people in them – and popcorn is relatively cheap! 😉
Instead, this is about serving these people God brings to your door. When I go into it with the attitude or thought of “Lord, let me serve someone for You today” . . . I usually end up being more blessed than the ones who enter my home. They bless me more than I could ever bless them.
God has a unique way of turning the blessing of servanthood around . . . and pouring it back on you.
May this be our homes.
May they encourage the saints,
love the sinners,
and heal the brokenhearted.
May they be used of the King.