Therefore welcome one another, just as Christ also welcomed you, to the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
The house of God is ever-increasing. God is always drawing people to himself and to his Son Jesus Christ. Those whom he draws need a home, and so the church must be open and welcoming to everyone. Jesus called us “The City on a Hill,” and so we are to be visible to weary souls who are seeking God and looking for a spiritual home to dwell in.
Here there is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is that as we begin sharing life with people we grow to love, we can become comfortable with our close circle of friends. We then think to ourselves that we have found our people, and we are satisfied. Thus we close ourselves off from anyone new. But closed circles are dangerous places within the Christian community. They can quickly become seedbeds for discontent. Jesus chose the Twelve as his closest disciples and spent much of his time in intimate fellowship with them. But he also spent time among the masses and ate and drank in others’ homes. Jesus had many relational networks. Therefore, we also should always be open to meeting and welcoming new people.
In welcoming others, we can quickly establish deep friendships with new people who are already brothers and sisters in the Lord. New relationships bring fresh perspectives on life. Each person we meet is a unique creation of God, and so we are able to see life in a fresh way through their eyes. Our motive for welcoming others stems from how Christ welcomed us. Jesus did not close himself off from anyone but was constantly open. Even he understood that God was orchestrating new relationships saying, “All that the Father gives me will come to me.” So keep in mind that new relationships are not merely chance happenings. God is orchestrating the creation of relational networks within his household. So let’s learn to cooperate with God as he expands our relational network. Becoming welcoming others is the first step.
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for welcoming me into your household. Teach me to welcome others even as you welcomed me. Keep me from closing myself off in self-satisfaction. Open my eyes to each opportunity you set before me to expand my circle of friends. Let me be a blessing to others, even as they are a blessing to me.