The God of Welcome
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7 ESV
Does your home have a welcome mat outside the door?
In many parts of the world signs of welcome are placed outside homes. A small rug outside the door implies, “Wipe your shoes off—or take them off…and come in!” In the days of seafaring trading, ship captains who’d returned from tropical lands would spike a pineapple atop their gateposts to say, “I’m back home! Come visit!” Welcoming hospitality is a given in some cultures. No business is conducted without ritual hospitality of coffee or tea. But in other cultures, welcoming hospitality is all but a lost art.
The God of the Bible is a God of welcome. Jesus was known for welcoming all kinds of people to himself—even social outcasts. The religious people of His day complained about Him saying, “‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them'” (Luke 15:2 NIV). Those who follow Jesus are called to the practice of living welcoming lives. “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God,” scripture instructs in the Bible book of Romans (Romans 15:7 ESV).
There are many ways of welcoming people into the love of God. Just as I can welcome people into my home, I can welcome them into my time. Do I stop to really listen to a story someone wants to tell me, or interrupt because “I’ve got to go to the next thing on my schedule!” Do I welcome people with my smile when they’re serving me? Do I welcome people with my patience when they push in front of me to take the last seat on the bus? Do I welcome people with prayer when I can see they have a need?
Jesus followers should always have the welcome mat out.