I was saddened this week when I heard of someone who, a while back, despite being part of a community of Jesus followers, had point blank refused to entertain (by which I mean provide a bed / food etc. for) a fellow community member.
At what point do you consciously decide to deprive one of your brothers or sisters the basic courtesy of hospitality that so many people who don’t even profess to be ‘Christian’ wouldn’t think twice about extending.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
I think that Paul is reminding the Galatians that their primary responsibility is to the Jesus family. Not to the exclusion of the rest of the world, but the emphasis is first on the people that hold to the way of Christ.
Correct me if I am barking up the wrong tree, but the whole passage in Galatians 6 speaks of caring for like-minded believers, extending to them Grace, Mercy, Gentleness and Humility within the context of the Church community setting (for me, this extends to all Jesus followers, regardless of creed, faction, sect or denomination: find me a verse that says I shouldn’t and I’ll back down). It makes it all the worse that the person refusing to display hospitality was one that had received considerable love, forgiveness, grace and mercy from many other fellow believers. (It is notable, but should not, I believe, really make a difference, that from some corners of the community, this person has also received a lot of hatred, pain, rejection and humiliation, albeit some time ago.)
I’m not arguing at all that we should ignore caring for non-believers, but Matthew 25:40 is a clear command from Jesus
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
That king is Jesus, he is king of our lives, king of our hearts, king of our actions and king of our faith communities, if we claim to be his disciples then we must follow him in action as well as proclamation.
Jesus (and then Paul) are saying “your first duty of care is to the family of people living the Jesus way”.
Then, the commission is to “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (obviously not focussing on the former to the detriment of the latter), This is “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless”!
So rounding back to where I started, maybe sometimes we need reminding that “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)
Jesus came to show us what God is like. He then told us to show the world what God is like by the way we behave to each other. (1 John 4:12)
Our mission, surely is to bring God’s kingdom to earth now while we wait for it to be established permanently, on the day God will be ‘all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28) and Christ will be truly the king of everything. (Rev 1:5)
And surely, surely, that starts here, it starts within and like a pebble in a pond, gradually the ripples increase in ever widening circles:
1 Peter 2:17
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
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