Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Opening Our Home To The Lord

"As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him."
Luke 10:38

In February, I shared in a post titled "Lavish Love" about a surprise party for my husband that I hosted. At that surprise party, after dinner I had "open mike" time and invited our guests to share something about Jim that had been especially meaningful in their life. We laughed and cried as we listened to the many gracious things our families and friends shared about Jim. I was so thankful to the Lord that my husband was able to hear the many ways he is touching lives.

One of the things that touched my heart personally was a little unexpected theme that ran through many of the comments our loved ones shared. "Thank you for opening your home to us." I was silenced with overwhelming gratitude to the Lord. I thought, "Wow, it makes such a difference in other's lives when we simply open our home to them." Something that we did so simply in love was touching people's hearts and being used by the Lord, and we didn't even fully realize it.

I love Mary of Bethany and desire to genuinely follow her beautiful example of sitting at the Lord's feet and choosing the better part (Luke 10:42). In the same breath, I do sometimes feel as though Martha's narrow reputation of "being distracted by all the preparations" (v. 40) and "being worried and upset about many things (v. 41) outweighs another significant truth we find in Luke 10 that illustrates a part of Martha's character and reflects a genuine and obedient part of Martha's heart: "Martha opened her home to Jesus."

Simply opening our home to Jesus. For Jesus. We can serve Him in obedience and honor Him by opening our home. By His grace and strength, we can open our homes to Him in simplicity and without needing to have things perfectly clean or by being distracted by preparations. I believe that as we sit at His feet and choose the better part that will not be taken away from us (v.42), we can open our homes in humility and obedience for His purposes and glory.

We open our home to Him by honoring Him in it and through it. Being careful what is said and done in our home, what is on the television and the computer screens in our home. Maintaining our home carefully in a balanced way that honors Him and is a good witness to our neighbors. Nurturing the relationships we have with one another in this home. Meeting with Him daily in our home. Finding a special place in our home that is our personal sanctuary. Filling our home with songs of worship.

We literally open our home to Him by opening it to others for Bible study, Chuck Missler "Koinonia House" Bible studies, "Gather & Grow", "God's Princesses", "God's Squires", "Love and Respect" home fellowship, and "Home Builders" studies. Opening it for a meal, for prayer, for fellowship, for refuge, for shelter, for play dates and fun, for celebrations, for coffee with a friend.

While opening our homes at times may seem inconvenient or uncomfortable, as we do it in obedience as unto the Lord with joy, He blesses the gatherings and grants His life and light to us and those who gather in our homes.

We are thankful for everyone who opens their homes to us. We don't take their kindness, sacrifice or hospitality lightly. We pray God blesses them for opening their homes to us. And we pray He always grants us the ability to open the home , which He has given to us, to Him and for Him.

Share with us how you open your home to the Lord!

I love this scripture. The words "Jerusalem" and "Zion" in the Bible always represent "Home" to me.
"The LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem;praise your God, O Zion, for He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat." Psalm 147:11-14

"As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:38-42


Blessed Mom of 8 said...

What a beautiful post full of His love for us!

Yes, opening our home brings us as much joy - maybe more than those we open it too. Why? Because God blesses the time together and leaves us with sweet memories long after the company has gone home.

We adore our home fellowship friends and my teen bible study girls. We enjoy all the things you mentioned - especially times to meet new friends like you last summer! Opening our home unto the Lord is joyful!!!

Hugs and love!

Heather said...

Sharon - your family is such a true example of the blessing of opening your home. It made me think this morning about how I used to open my home quite frequently...I have been much more reserved about this, as of late, and perhaps the Lord is encouraging me to begin doing more of this.

I so relate to having a Martha attitude:) Your mentorship to others about approaching both preparation and experiencing the moment with joy for Him is an encouragment and a gift. Thank you for your obedience in sharing that.

Beautiful post Sharon, just beautiful. Most definitely a reflection of your family.


Lysa TerKeurst said...

Oh sweet sister... how I wish you lived just down the road from me. I would love to come over, sit, and visit within the surroundings of your biblical gift of hospitality.

You are such a precious soul of Christ.

And yes, I was doing the complete happy dance as I stepped on the scale this morning and had lost 8 pounds!

This is such an answer to prayer. I have known I needed to give up sugar for a long time... but I didn't want to do it.

God has rewarded my obedience in such a strong way, I am spurred on to keep going.

Pat said...

I LOVED this post....plus, the worship music made me want to curl up and stay awhile,
Bless you,

Joyful said...

Sharon, I just enjoyed reading your past 4 posts. You have such a beautiful family...but more importantly, you have such a beautiful heart.

From Gabrielle's desire to 'have a little prayer' to you opening your home for love and ministry here, you have blessed my heart.

Just this past Easter I almost let the fact that our house is small keep me from inviting a family of six to join us in some celebrating of our risen Lord. Thankfully, I pushed pride aside, and we enjoyed a precious time of fellowship.

Thanks for all your encouragement here. You are such a blessing.