3031 Long Hollow Pike
Hendersonville, TN 37075
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1200 Hartsville Pike
Gallatin, TN 37066
8:15, 9:30, 10:45, and 12:00pm
Share a Meal or Coffee With Your Neighbor
All Campuses | Published on July 16, 2017
Last week we kicked off our new series, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” with a message from Pastor Tim called “A Love Worth Sharing.” We asked you to introduce yourself to your neighbor and begin a conversation. Jesus lays it out simply for us in His Word:
“He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
This week, we’re challenging you to take things one step further by sharing a meal (or cup of coffee) with your neighbor.
In Luke 14, Jesus extends this command to hospitality and shares the parable of the large banquet. This banquet is for everyone. Jesus makes a point that we must be generous even to people who may not be able to give us anything in return. We must live generously because God has given generously to us.
We might not be hosting an elaborate banquet anytime soon, but we do have the opportunity to host people in our homes every day. Jesus reminds us that hospitality isn’t only for our friends, relatives, or people we may want to impress. We’re called to invite our next-door-neighbor simply because she’s your neighbor. Invite the widower down the street, the young mom you always see at the playground, or the barista who never forgets your coffee order.
The kingdom hospitality extended to us by the Master motivates us to extend hospitality to our neighbors around us. God has invited us into His home. We did nothing to earn that, yet He allows us access to the greatest eternal home through faith in Him.
If God can invite us as sinners into his perfect Home, then what stops us from inviting our neighbors into our homes here today?
Over and over in Scripture, eating a meal together connects people. In the Old Testament, God uses food to not only bring His people together but to show them more of Him.
“I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them: At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will eat bread until you are full. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” (Exodus 16:12)
Food is a gift from God. He provides for us, and He’s given us this good gift so we can share it with others. As the Israelites journey through the wilderness progresses, God again provides food as a sign of his faithfulness:
“He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper.” (Deuteronomy 8:16)
When God joins His people as a man on earth, we get to see how the ultimate dinner host invited people in. Jesus didn’t eat with only his family or his disciples. He invited in everyone, including the people who were socially rejected. He ate with tax collectors and sinners, with prostitutes and lepers.
“When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this, he told them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17)
There is always room for one more at Christ’s table. Can we say the same about ours?
Even on the night before his death, Jesus made time to break bread with his people. Jesus shows us that God delights in intentionally spending time with his guests. Hospitality starts with valuing people and opening up our lives to them.
“It has been Christ’s plan since the beginning of the church to advance his kingdom through dinner tables,” writes Chad Ashby, Pastor of College Street Baptist Church in South Carolina.
Carrying on that plan is part of our great commission as believers.
“Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:45-47)
Sharing a meal with our neighbors points us to the true Bread of Life. It’s pretty rare today that we invite someone over for dinner or coffee with no agenda and no expectation to be reciprocated. But that’s what Jesus does for us. He’s gifted us with salvation through faith. Every good thing we have comes from Him. We have the privilege of offering our gifts, our resources, and our homes to others–no strings attached–and get to watch as God uses them in extraordinary ways to build His kingdom.
Join us Sunday as we continue our series, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Watch previous messages here.