Quick! Close the Curtains, Turn out the Lights and Hide!

For those reading Lisa Harper’s book, Stumbling Into Grace, along with my small group, today’s devotional will match up with her third chapter: “Take a Load Off”

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“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15

I hadn’t invited her over.  It was a busy day with a lengthy to-do list and I had no time for visitors.

Yet, my best friend in the whole wide world unexpectedly appeared on my doorstep in the middle of the day and she brought some friends with her.

My first impulse was to hit the light switch and hover in the back of my house in the dim light, hoping she thought I wasn’t home.

But I didn’t.  I scooped up the laundry from my couch and dumped it on my bed, closing the bedroom door behind me. Glancing in the mirror, I smoothed back my hair and threw open the front door, pasting a welcoming smile on my face.

Hey!  What a surprise! Come in!  Welcome, welcome.  Have a seat.  I’ll be with you in a minute.

The sound of the dryer finishing a load cut through the small talk.  I meant to get my guests something to drink and scan the fridge for some lunch prospects.  I meant to.  But, I took a detour to the laundry room to switch over the clothes.

Then the phone rang.  I answered it and made apologetic faces at the visitors while ironing out the details for an upcoming church program with the lady on the other end of the line.

Hanging up the phone, I remembered that I had to get dinner in the crockpot right away or the 6 hours my food was supposed to spend on low heat would end up being 3 hours on high or maybe even 15 minutes in the microwave.

So, I shouted out, “What brings you here today?  What’s new with you?” from the kitchen as I chopped carrots and celery.  Then I made occasional sounds of mild interest and attention, (mmmm hmmmm,  Oh, I see, Wow) while my very dearest and best friend in the whole wide world told me what was on her mind.

Seeing my to-do list on the counter, I entered the living room and gave verbal cues to my friend that it was now time to go.

Well, it was great to see you.  I’m so glad you could stop by for this little chat.  Maybe I’ll call you later this week and we’ll schedule time to get together.

She quickly caught on and stood up to go.  The visit ended, just like that………………………….

Now, don’t cancel your plans to visit with me.  While hospitality certainly isn’t my spiritual gift, I’m not as rude as that made-up story would suggest.

Still, does it amaze you how Abraham reacted when God showed up at his tent door unexpectedly with two friends in the heat of the day?  God didn’t even call first!

When Abraham saw the three surprise visitors headed his way, he didn’t run inside his tent, hang a sign on the door that read “Out to Lunch” and then shut the flaps, hoping they’d think he wasn’t home.

No, he “hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground” (Genesis 18:2).

Then, he immediately and without complaint abandoned his plans for the day and made their comfort his sole focus.

He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.  Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.  Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant” (Genesis 18:3-5).

He showed hospitality to God.

Abraham begged the Lord to “not pass your servant by.”  And God didn’t.  Instead, He rested in that place.  Rather than delivering a divine message and then disappearing, He sat in the shade of the tree, eating and chatting with Abraham.

That’s right.  God and Abraham “hung out.”

And when the visit was over, the Lord, having been shown hospitality, shared with Abraham the plan for Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction.  This was not the purpose of the visit, but it was a divine revelation borne out of intimate fellowship with God.

While we have the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives continually, still there are moments when He shows up in clear and powerful ways in the middle of our busyness.

He appears at the tent of our heart.  He inquires if we’re home, if we’re willing to spend time with Him.

Do we tell Him to come back tomorrow because we’ve already fulfilled our quiet time quota for the day?  Or do we usher Him into the center of our hearts and show Him hospitality?

Chris Tiegreen wrote:

When He comes to you in the heat of the day, do you bow before Him, offer Him the refreshment of your hospitality, and give of your possessions?  Do you aim to serve?  Then don’t be surprised if God lingers.  Don’t be surprised if He communicates with  you as with a privileged friend.”

I don’t know about you, but I echo Abraham’s prayer that God will “not pass your servant by.”  Oh, how I long for friendship with God.

But, why should He linger with us if we make it clear by our actions that He’s not welcome?

When He asks to spend time with you, turn off the TV.  The next time hubby watches the kids, don’t hit the shops, grab your Bible and journal and visit a park instead.  Or grab a cup of coffee (or in my case a scoop of ice cream) together—yes, go on a date with God.

Make it clear to Him, the best and dearest Friend you’ll ever have, that He is welcome in your life—not for what He does for you or because He fulfills your needs or fixes your problems—but because of who He is.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

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