5 My beloved friend, I commend you for your demonstration of faithful love by all that you have done for the brothers on their journey, even though they were strangers at the time. 6 They have shared publicly with the congregation about the beautiful acts of love you have shown them.
3 John 5-6 The Passion Translation
People come to church for community.
While it is good to have good coffee, great worship ambience and sound biblical preaching, it is the experience of friendship and authentic relationships that keeps people coming back. This is why welcoming someone to church is not the same as welcoming a customer to shop with you again. Your relationship with a customer is transactional, but your relationship with another child of God is transformational.
Sometimes we can spend an awful lot of energy in trying to get people to like us that we don’t show we love them. A great way to show we love someone is to be caring for their well-being and helping them to flourish. Learn to hear their hearts and sow into their projects and visions. Learn to hear their fears and carry them through their sorrows. Learn to challenge when they are giving up on their God-given dreams too early and comfort them when things get tough. Learn to encourage and not judge them when they falter or fall. If we truly love someone, there is actually no limit to what we can do.
Everyone who met Gaius spoke well of him. The Apostle John commended Gaius for his generosity and hospitality towards visiting fellow believers, even though they were strangers to him. We can learn a lot from his welcoming spirit and awesome caring heart.
Some Sundays ago, in one of my sermons, I asked whether we are a welcoming church. Well, the poll came back and it seems we are all on a different page. Instead of just seeing gaps and feeling discouraged, let us recognise that we each have a role to play in growing our community into one that welcomes and loves all peoples.
While some churches are recognized for their music and preaching and creativity (and I am rejoicing that they are known for that), however I envision our church as a church where people feel welcomed and belong the moment they are in our midst. They can tell we are true followers of Jesus by the way we live, talk and act. We may have shortcomings, limits and imperfections but they will see genuine warmth and care that feels natural and they appreciate it.
Let us learn from Gaius. Knowing our beautiful acts of love can make a real and lasting impact and inspire others around us.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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