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Hearty Hospitality

I must admit, I’ve never thought of hospitality in terms of hearty. Hearty is often associated with a Campbell Chunky Soup commercial. Based upon Luke’s account in the passage below, it’s unclear if Publius was simply in a good mood, lonely and eager to entertain strangers or this man possessed a boisterous personality. Whatever the reason, 276 shipwreck survivors were accepted and welcomed by this wealthy man.

In the vicinity of that place there were estates belonging to the head man of the island, named Publius, who accepted and welcomed and entertained us with hearty hospitality for three days, Acts 28:7.

Synonyms of hearty include animated, cheerful, dynamic, exuberant and jovial. When I see someone in a great mood, this usually only last a day or two. This could be contributed to the birth of a child, an engagement or promotion. The hardest part of any good news is maintaining a positive attitude when bad news, failure or hardship arise. Human effort can only take you so far in life. This is where a personal relationship with God helps stabilize once wayward souls, living on a roller coaster of emotions.

Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it, Hebrews 13:2.

The author of Hebrews adds another dimension to hearty hospitality. Perhaps, the passage above is warning against being selective in your hospitality. During a sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus calls Christians to go the extra mile, not just helping those who help you. Hearty hospitality involves throwing a News Year Eve party on a normal day of the week. Bringing this same energy and passion is a way to celebrate life. While you may not possess the gift of hospitality, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord should celebrate their salvation daily, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

Active, Lukewarm or Dead?

Animated, bubbly, dynamic, energetic, perky and vigorous are all synonyms which highlight active individuals.  When you came in contact with these lively souls, its possible to feed off of their enthusiasm.  During Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his followers to add flavor to the lives of people you encounter, Matthew 5:13-16.  When actions and words co-exist, faith rubs off on others, similar to a lamp shining light into the darkness of this world.

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:16.

Prior to modern appliances, cooling drinks or adding ice cubes wasn’t an option.  Thus, past civilizations were forced to endure room temperature drinks.  The Bible refers to this as lukewarm.  The context in which this term is applied signifies an inactive faith.  From a spiritual point of view, idle faith is an insult to God, void of salt and light.  Unfortunately, I find myself closer to lukewarm than active.  In fact, in recent weeks I am hovering somewhere between a lukewarm and dying faith.

For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead, James 2:26.

When talking about judgment, Jesus uses the expression take the plank out of your own eye before criticizing someone else, Matthew 7:1-5.  One of the members in the audience that day opens up about his own life in the passage above.  Taking a look in the mirror from a spiritual perspective, James looks back at a time in his life when his faith was dead.  Despite being raised by Mary and Joseph, James’ faith was lukewarm at best until the resurrection of Jesus.  I guess we all need a wake up call at some point.  May this blog awaken your soul to activate your faith, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

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