During these 12 weeks of summer, Pastor Bob is preaching a series called
“Exchange: Lifestyle,” exploring chapters 12-16 of the book of Romans. I divided it up into daily readings and have committed to daily journaling my reflections about each.
Romans 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. [NET]
Contribute. The Greek word here has to do with sharing and partnering so I actually like the NIV wording better: “Share with God’s people who are in need.” It seems to be about coming alongside those fellow believers who are suffering or struggling. I have seen this attitude displayed recently with adults who have underwritten a scholarship for Sr. Highers to attend a summer trip. This is exactly what Paul seems to be getting at here.
It’s also interesting that the context of this generousity is towards fellow believers and not outsiders. So often we think of social justice issues towards outsiders as being a mandate from scripture. Yet I’m not sure we see that pattern expressed there much. What I see more often is that the church was supposed to take care of its own (“By this will all men know you are my disciples if you have love for one another”). It seems that a church that takes care of the needs of its own members is what will draw the onlooking world to want to become insiders. Please correct me if I’ve missed something here.
pursue hospitality. The Greek word for pursue has connotations of a runner, sprinting towards the prize. Yesterday morning I took a treadmill fitness test and Dawn, the test-taker, pushed me to the limit! But I kept at it thanks to her encouragment and due to my desire for accurate test results. Likewise, effort should be put toward being hospitable.
So if we agree that we are to pursue hospitality agressively, then I have to admit I fall WAY short. This is something I’m going to have to deal with and work on. You see, I like my privacy and my quiet little family. I’m actually an introvert by nature and there’s nothing I’d rather do on my day off than sit in my chair and read a book all day. I love fellowshipping with others too when it happens, but initiating hospitality isn’t something that comes natural to me. So if I’m going to be obedient in this area, I’m going to have to work to pursue it. Will I? That’s the relevant question and one I’d be wise to contemplate and act on.