When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me.” (Acts 15:13)
LATE LAST FALL, a member of my small group asked for some advice. He wanted to invite a homeless man to Thanksgiving dinner, but he wasn’t sure if it was rude to impose on his family in that way. “No one ever brings guests other than our own family members, let alone someone who doesn’t smell so great.” I wish his struggle hadn’t been so easy to understand. Obviously he should act on his impulse to extend hospitality to a person in need; but, oh, how we love our comfort! The intrusion of an outsider—especially an unkempt one—would disrupt the traditional familial setting everyone is used to. And don’t we treasure our family time?
Imagine how the new Christians felt when Paul and Barnabas and James called them to attention and told them they were inviting Gentiles into their midst. And it wasn’t just to eat one meal with them but to share in the community of faith. All their lives, the Jews had been taught to separate themselves from others; now this new gospel compelled them to welcome and love others.
Jesus died for everyone. We’ve heard this so many times by now that it sounds cliché, but it is a radical message that affects our daily lives. If Jesus accepts all, so must we.
Identify a person God asks you to accept on His behalf.
Heather Gemmen Wilson is the author of the Global Warning Series, a fiction series for preteens, and she inspires young minds as a professor of creative writing.
© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.