Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Hospitable Bishop

I have an unwritten rule against using multiple sermon illustrations from the same source—at least until a respectable amount of time has transpired. I used Les Miserables in a sermon several weeks ago and I’m reluctant to use it again.

The pity is that there is so much good material in the book! Therefore, I have decided to grant myself amnesty for weekly updates, which means you may be seeing a lot of Les Miserables in the coming weeks.

Near the beginning of the novel, a bishop says these words to Jean Valjean, who is in desperate need of hospitality:

You need not tell me who you are. This is not my house; it is the house of Christ. It does not ask any comer whether he has a name, but whether he has an affliction. You are suffering; you are hungry and thirsty; be welcome. And do not thank me; do not tell me that I take you into my house. This is the home of no man, except him who needs an asylum. I tell you, who are a traveler, that you are more at home than I; whatever is here is yours. What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me, I knew it…. Your name is my brother.
Can you say the same of your home: This is not my house; it is the house of Christ?

In Romans 15:7, tells us why believers should be more hospitable than any other group: “Therefore,” writes Paul, “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

You and I have been welcomed into the home of God through faith in Chris Jesus. We become family, yes, but it should never be forgotten that we who were God’s enemies were shown gracious hospitality at the moment where we needed it the most and deserved it the least.

My encouragement to you is to examine the home in which you live and be careful about speaking of it as “your” home. You live in it, but it is God’s. The food, the clothing, the furniture exist not for your own benefit but for God’s. Use it accordingly!

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