After two months of planning, my family finally had another family over for dinner. For a few hours our home was filled with the laughter of four children, all three years old and under. We built a fire, grilled some pizzas, and had great conversations with other adults. We wondered why it had taken so long for us to make this happen.
My family has other friends we would love to host, but we just never seem to get around to it. Between busy schedules, an old house in need of constant repairs, church and family obligations, and everything else we collectively call life, I have learned that fellowship doesn’t happen by chance. It requires intentionality.
But aren’t all profitable things similar? We know vegetables are good for us and fast food isn’t, but which is easier (and sometimes tastier)? We know we need to exercise, but there is always tomorrow for that. And besides, we didn’t get the milkshake at the drive-through, so we can take the day off. Never mind that we also took yesterday off, and the day before, and the day before. …
Before we realize it, it has been a year since we have had a legitimate workout. And before we know it, a year can pass before we have had genuine fellowship with friends in our home.
But how can we be intentional about fellowship when life is so busy?
First, we need to realize we are not nearly as busy as we think we are. Pride tells us to look at ourselves as busy so we can feel important. The truth is that we can all find a free night every few weeks for friends, if we want to.
Second, we need to learn to be proactive and to schedule. If we talk about having dinner with friends and tell them to let us know when they are free, the dinner will never happen. The reason is simple; if anyone has an open night, it is filled by a plethora of chores needing to be done around the house. Rather than being passive when discussing general dinner plans, we should discuss days that may actually work. This changes the dynamic, and the dinner and fellowship really happen.
Lastly, we must learn that fellowship is vital and necessary for growing in Christ. God never intended fellowship only happen inside the walls of the church. In Galatians 6:2, we are commanded to “bear one another’s burdens.” That can’t happen if you only see a person once a week or 52 days out of the 365 available days every year. Bearing the burdens of loved ones only happens when we do life together, and we only do life together when we are intentional and decisive about it.
So what has held you back from inviting your friends into your home? Do you think it is too messy? Trust me, they have a messy house too. They may even help you clean! Do you think you can’t cook? Have a baked potato bar. Pop the potatoes in the oven or microwave until soft, set several toppings on the table and let everyone create their own. This gets bonus points because it is cheap.
While it is profitable and right to host Christian friends, don’t neglect those who do not know Jesus. I have learned more about the gospel during one Friday night meal at a friend’s table than hours sitting in a pew. Invite people into your home, serve the food with love, and show them Jesus.