I like to think that I am quite the domestic woman, but I really struggled to find my creativity when I moved to SE Asia. I blocked myself from getting on Pinterest because I felt sad that Hobby Lobby was so far away and that the ingredients I was so used to using in comfort foods were not readily available.
I longed for a beautiful home that welcomed people in and made them feel comfortable. And when I did offer up whatever gift of hospitality I could scrounge up, the gift didn’t exactly translate to my friends from Asia, Europe, or Australia.
I’m a Tennessee gal, you see. And a big pot of macaroni and cheese doesn’t exactly scream “I LOVE YOU!” to all cultures as much as I’d appreciate.
As I’ve been redefining domestication and hospitality in my homemaking, the Father has been redefining domestication and hospitality in my concept of ministry.
I’ve really been camped out on the story of Zacchaeus for a while now, thinking about how Jesus made such an impact on this man’s life.
What strikes me about Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus (who was perched up in a tree trying to get a good look at the Christ) is how He openly invited Himself into Zacchaeus’ house.
Jesus didn’t say, Zacchaeus, you are clearly seeking me. I’d like to invite you to synagogue with me today.
Or, Zacchaeus, I’d love to invite you over to my house for dinner. I can show you what being a follower of mine is all about.
Jesus entered Zacchaeus’ world. He went into HIS home, with HIS stuff, where HE was comfortable. And the thought of this has revolutionized my understanding of incarnational ministry.
So often, we invite people to our fellowships with our people and our customs and our comforts. And we work hard to make that experience positive for them. We slave away tirelessly to try and make what makes sense to us understandable to others.
And there’s so much noise. Especially when doing cross-cultural ministry.
Newcomers to the Christ must weed through our traditions, our customs, our fashion, our worship…to try and find the Man who has such a simple message of Salvation.
I believe we can take a lesson from Jesus’ ministry to see the power of entering other people’s spaces well instead of always inviting them into ours.
There is truly a gift to hospitality. Inviting people into our homes and into our faith assemblies with warmth and love is no small thing.
But I’ll admit here first: Sometimes I enjoy having people in my house because I like my house the best. I like my stuff. I like my food. I like being where I can control the temperature and the conversation.
And I wonder if sometimes I’ve worked too hard to make my home a place of ministry instead of going into the homes of others – where they are already comfortable – and bring my ministry with me into THEIR space.
We can reduce the noise. We can limit the baggage that surrounds our faith and bring a very simple message that is about a Man that wants to do incredible things in the lives of those we are hoping to reach, making it relevant in whatever home or whatever worship setting wearing whatever clothes.
Incarnation. Domestication. Christ with us, anywhere we go…not wherever we invite people to join with us.
Sisters, I believe there are a lot of people hungry for a Good Word. And whether we’re in a village in Guatemala or a gentrified neighborhood of Miami, we can make our message much clearer by being hospitable enough to be with others where they are most comfortable.
In their spaces. In their worlds. In the same way Christ entered our world long ago to share His message with us.
In what ways have you noticed the benefits of ministering to others in “their space”?
How have you modified your entertaining habits to accommodate others?