There is a family in Durham NC who shows hospitality to trusted friends (Rom. 12:13; 1 Pet. 4:9) AND strangers as well (Heb. 13:2)! One of these strangers decided to abuse the privilege of being so liberally and lovingly welcomed by breaking into this family’s home and ransacking their property. Some trusted friends said, “Well, I guess you’ve learned your lesson. Certainly you will stop this reckless business of inviting strangers into your home.” However, this family had no intention of stopping their practice of showing hospitality to strangers. Their friends were very concerned! This seemed like an unnecessary risk to say the least. “What about your children!?” the friends asked, “Aren’t your children traumatized!?” The family had to admit that their children’s anxiety was off the charts for a month or two, but this was no reason to stop showing hospitality to strangers.
Once upon a time there was a community of people who joyfully accepted the plundering of their property, because they knew that they had a better possession and an abiding one. Some members of this community were tortured (refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life). Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated. The world was not worthy of this community.
We are invited to look to this community for guidance (the way we are invited to look to our leaders – the elders and deacons of ECPC). We are to find leaders that look like this, and then lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and follow after them running with endurance the race that is set before us; fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.