In his wonderful book, The Heart of Evangelism, Jerram Barrs represents a high water mark in terms of respectful, loving evangelism. I’ve come to love Barrs after listening to over 26 hours of his lectures on apologetics from Convenant Seminary (look it up on iTunes too). He states truth so clearly but seriously has the most gentle voice in the world.
I’ve previously shared quotes about evangelism and the workplace, and his wisdom on how to pray. But one of the things he is most passionate about is hospitality and having an open home for the sake of the Gospel.
Whether we find ourselves in extreme settings or in what we hope would be more normal ones, all of us are called to follow Christ by committing ourselves to a life of service and love. Apart from our immediate families, who will see this love? (pg 69)
The challenge is that even if we are the most loving, thankful, blessed folk in the world – what does it matter if only our own households get to see it? Without hospitality – the opening of our lives and homes to non-Christians – that love, and the opportuntities to proclaim the truth which is its wellspring, remains hidden.
Scripture calls every Christian to “practice hospitality” (Rom 12:13, Heb 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9) The call to be hospitable is not an option for the Christian or a helpful suggestion off the apostle’s cuff. It is not a suggestion but a command, just as much as “You shall not commit adultery”…When we are hospitable, many others in addition to our family members will have the opportunity to see our love at work. (pg 69)
I find this call/command especially challenging. Introverted, bookish, and private, I would often rather curl up with a book in the evening than have people over. Add to that the chaos of the early childhood years – with its near debilitating exhaustion – and this call/command is very difficult. Nevertheless, it is a good challenge. I love non-Christians. I love meeting them, talking to them, debating them, persuading them, listening to them. For all that it is important to have an open heart, life, and home.
* BONUS – if you’d like to read an amazing tale which shows the powerful role hospitality can play in reaching someone, read Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. If you’re in The King’s Fellowship, knock on my door and consider my copy lent!