"We have spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. I speak as to my children; as a proper response, open your heart to us." 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
As a young girl growing up in a large church we often had visiting youth choirs come to perform cantatas. They traveled from all different places, most far from home. One of the ways our church ministered to them was organizing a list of volunteer homes to house the choir members for the night. My parents always opened our home and welcomed two or three weary travelers each time. I enjoyed having these perfect strangers come in and eat with us at our table and talk and laugh and get to know them in such a short amount of time, and then see them off the very next morning feeling a bit sad because 'my brothers' (we always chose boys because it gave daddy a taste of having males in the home) were leaving to head out on their next destination.
When I became a youth and was involved in our choir we also would travel the states over singing and smiling and showing God's love in churches we had never been (strangers but family in Christ). I loved getting matched with the families I got to go home with for the night. I have very fond memories of going into other's homes and seeing how they lived and interacted with each other. It was so refreshing to visit someone's home and experience a family setting, different than mine; sitting around dining room tables and breaking bread. Feeling that common bond of God's love. Having people dote on me for my every need; for one night their home was mine. I was a part of their family and walked away feeling just that way.
Paul poured out his heart to the Corinthian church giving them his best. Teaching the Word by: encouraging "...build each other up..."(1 Thes. 5:11); loving "...bears, believes, hopes, endures..."(1 Cor. 13:7); accepting "...Christ also accepted you..."(Rom. 15:7); leading "...with diligence; showing mercy with cheerfulness..."(Rom. 12:8). His heart was open and ready to lend a hand wherever he was needed. He went on to encourage them to be open; show hospitality. Share their home, food and resources with others in need so that they could spread the gospel of God's amazing grace.
We must open our hearts to all that God has for us. He will fill us with all we need to serve others, all the while serving Him. Through that act we are being nurtured to spread God's love to our family, friends, church and community.
We are pleasing to the Lord by our obedience in reaching out (sometimes out of our comfort zone) and embracing the service He leads us to. It requires time and effort and selflessness and maybe even inconvenience, but the reward is so great; the blessing so satisfying.
"So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, being rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude." (Col. 2:6,7)
Girls, pray and ask God for strength and courage and opportunity to speak hope into the lives of others. Open your hearts and watch what God can do.
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank you for people who are true encouragers. May their lives be filled with blessings too numerous to count. Open my heart to more of Your service and may Your name be glorified through it. I love You! Amen.