Read Exodus 22:21-24, 23:9-12, and Leviticus 19:33-37 to learn why God wants His children to be kind to outsiders.
Who needs some help to fit into your world? How might sharing the gospel be an important part of your hospitality?
Most Christians who read the Old Testament identify with the Israelites. This is appropriate, for the Jews are our spiritual ancestors. They were the people of God in the Old Testament, and the church defines the people of God in the New Testament. We belong to the same family and share the same story.
And yet, if you’re a Gentile like me, it’s humbling to remember that we came late to the family. We may be the spiritual descendants of Israel, but ethnically our ancestors were the Egyptians, Philistines, and Canaanites. The Bible divides the world into two ethnic classes: Jews and Gentiles. There’s Israel—God’s chosen people—and then there’s everyone else. As Paul reminds us, we Gentiles were part of the “everyone else.”
We started out “excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel,” living “in this world without God and without hope” (Ephesians 2:12). We were on the losing side—we stood with the Egyptians when the angel of death passed over; we fell with Jericho when Joshua and the Israelites blew their trumpets; and we saw our hero, Goliath, crumple to the ground after receiving a mortal wound.
But though we once “were far away from God,” we “Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners” but “are citizens along with all of God’s holy people” (Ephesians 2:13,19). We outsiders are now on the inside, a fact which should inspire compassion for any stranger among us.
When we encounter people who feel out of place in our world, we must patiently show them the ropes so they can fit in. We should welcome them into our family and give them room to flourish, for we come from a long line of outsiders. Hospitality does not make one a Christian, but Christians must be hospitable.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 13:22-35
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