These are my Irish friends
Robert and Gloria Kearney live in Downpatrick, Ireland and practice hospitality in the very best of ways. Linda, Michael and I enjoyed an evening in their home for a cup of tea and some sweet treats. They shared their lives with us, pictures of their kids and most of all cared about hearing our story. As we sat by the fire and laughed about a hundred different things, I thought to myself, there’s no where in the world I’d rather be than here right now.
As former missionaries and teachers, these two have a heart for a world that needs to hear about Jesus, and that includes their own city where evangelical churches have always struggled. Downpatrick, where they live, is what some call a “church planters’ graveyard,” but there are deep spiritual wells and a long history of God moving there. St. Patrick planted the first church in Ireland in that area and he is buried in their city. Their excitement swelled as they smiled and told me more about what Journey Church in Downpatrick is doing to reach their community. We shared stories of God on the move in the lives of individuals they know and we all believe that breakthrough for their city spiritually is not far off.
Romans 12:13 (NIV) says… Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Robert and Gloria live this out and encourage others to imitate their faith. They have been involved in the Alpha Course as leaders helping people learn about the Christian faith, Robert organizes ping pong at the church to draw people in, and Gloria is involved with a women’s missionary effort. In their later years of life, they are finishing so well. I was so glad that my son was able to meet these kinds of people. They are my people and I have found a kindred spirit and passion in them that I long for us to imitate.
Hospitality is clearly God’s idea and as we serve others: strongholds in their lives, preconceived notions of who Jesus is, and barriers to the Kingdom all dissolve.
What does hospitality mean?
The dictionary defines it as the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers.
What does it look like for you to practice hospitality?
You don’t have to invite people in for a cup of tea into your living room, but that might be something to consider. Just sitting with someone, hearing their story, and really actively listening to them will show the love of Jesus and reflect His light.
Jesus said in John 8, “I am the light of the world.”
He also teaches us that we are to reflect His light to a watching world in Matthew 5, where he tells us, “you are the light of the world.”Ask yourself this week, how you can grow in hospitality and be encouraged by the Irish who so naturally and selflessly offer their hearts to others.