Week 51 Saturday

The Welcome Mat

Today’s scripture selection: Third John

Key verses: Third John, verse 5

I guess it’s supposed to be funny.

It’s a door mat that I saw for sale awhile back.

It says simply, “Go Away.”

My, how the world has changed.  I understand that people are tired of dealing with junk mail; solicitors; adware; door-to-door evangelists.  But come on – go away?

In contrast to this cynical, snarky attitude – there is the example of Third John, verse 5.  Written by the apostle John to his friend Gaius:

“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, though they are strangers to you.”

And the commendation is made in stark contrast to what another, a fellow by the name of Diotrephes, is doing because he “loves to be first.”

It is important in a very hostile world to be careful.  You can’t pick up hitchhikers like days gone by; naively let strangers passing through use your spare bedroom.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t be hospitable in some way.

We are called to be the ones who lend a welcoming greeting; a sympathetic ear; a helpful hand – especially to the ones whom the world has forgotten or discarded, like yesterday’s trash.

So, I recommend you buy a doormat that has some other greeting than an invitation to go away.

And most of all, I invite you to welcome others, as best you can, just as you and I have been welcomed by a very loving, patient, God.

Prayer: Lord, help me to reach out in sincere hospitality, in your name.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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