April 26, 2023
In order to know exactly what to do and how to behave when implementing Christian hospitality, most believers will need a concrete example. David and Karen Mains discuss how the Lord Jesus Christ gives us the very best such example.
So, we’ve been talking about hospitality. This is our fourth podcast on it. And one of the things we want to emphasize in this podcast is that we always think of hospitality as opening your home and inviting people into a meal or for coffee or whatever. And it is that. But David, it’s much, much more than that.
David: Karen, do you think people ever change how they live because of listening to us?
Karen: Well, we do receive letters from time to time that tell how people are grateful for what they’ve heard on the podcast. So yeah, I think in ways maybe large or small.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: Let me change my question just a little bit. Karen, do you think we change because of what we tell other people is the will of God for their lives?
Karen: I think we’re probably the biggest recipients of the Lord working through us through the scriptures we’re working with.
David: It’s a privilege because you’re constantly examining yourself and we’ve had this series on hospitality, and I think we have grown. How about you?
Karen: Well, it’s been a renewal of our understanding of hospitality at this stage in our lives in our 80s.
David: It’s a picture that is more broad than just how you entertain when you have people over to the house?
David: It’s gone in a lot of different directions besides that.
Karen: And we’re trying to shake people out of the thought pattern that is just opening your home and inviting people into your home. But that hospitality is a God-given attitude that we practice wherever we meet and greet people.
David: Yeah, I go to the post office probably four or five times a week. And the other day I went, and there was a gentleman on the concrete sitting…
Karen: … on the steps.
David: I was at the top of the steps before he’d been in the building, the large building. You know, bingo, I think I could ignore him, which I’d like to because I got a busy day. But I would also make myself a hypocrite when I say we need to be sensitive to the Lord as he brings different people into our lives. So, after going into the post office and saying, yeah, I got this amount of money in my pocket, and I need to be not just here. Take this, you know, I’ll see how he’s doing. That may mean more time involved. I don’t know. But anyway, I said to this gentleman, “Are you all right?” And he said, “I’m fine.” And I said, “You don’t need a ride somewhere? You don’t need money?” He said, “No, I got here early on the train, and I just have nowhere to go. So, I’m just waiting here, and my friend will come.” I said, “Okay, just checking on you.” And he said to me, “Thank you very much. That was kind of it.” And I went on, but that was it. But it was because I don’t want to say these words about hospitality for others. They’re first of all for me, so I live them. And I’ve not arrived but at the same time the Holy Spirit is prompting me to be what I say.
Karen: So, we thought for this podcast we would look at Jesus Christ as our example of hospitality. Now that’s interesting because he doesn’t have a home, he can call his own.
David: Yeah, you’ve called him the most hospitable man that you…
Karen: … ever lived. And he is the premier example of it for me as far as his approach to the people who came his way, all kinds of people that he interacted with or encountered.
David: So, he practices what he preaches.
Karen: He practices what he preaches without a home.
David: Yes, which is really interesting and we’re saying we won’t cover this topic and we’ll move to a new topic next time we get together. But you can continue just exploring on your own by going through the Gospels and reading and saying what lessons am I learning about hospitality as I look at the life of Christ and that would be something we would hope people would do.
Karen: What I did when I began to study, how Jesus was hospitable. I went through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because you have a little different nuance in all of those Gospels. So anyway, let’s start with this one story.
David: We’re picking out examples and then setting a pattern and following the pattern if this is something with the Lord encouraging you to learn a little bit more than what you’ve known all your life.
Karen: So, this is marked by the parable of the marriage feast and Jesus is telling the story. “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors unless they also invite you in return and you will be repaid.” Now he’s going to motivate here, I think, more than anything else. We’re going to invite the people we’re familiar with and then maybe even the ones who can elevate us in our job status. And he’s not saying don’t hit those people into your life, but he wants our emphasis to be in another place. And this is what’s revolutionary about Christ. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind and you’ll be blessed because they can’t repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
David: Okay now those are huge words. I mean who do we know who’s blind and who do we know who’s maimed, you know all that. And the bigger question, if we apply it to Jesus, like we just did to ourselves, was this how Jesus acted or is he just giving good words, but he doesn’t model it himself?
Karen: Well, I think that’s what’s so beautiful about him. He does model it without a home. He had to go into other people’s houses. The story of, is it Zacchaeus?
David: Yeah, of course.
Karen: And what does he say?
David: “Come on over to my house, Zacchaeus. I don’t want to have a house. Guess what, Zacchaeus? I’m going to come to your house. You’ve got enough resources.” Zacchaeus is up there in the tree. Interesting thing is, he’s thrilled.
David: He wanted to see Jesus. And now Jesus, it makes him look great. But on top of that, it changes his life in a phenomenal way.
Karen: So, Jesus, in that example, was Zacchaeus, is being hospitable in that he’s inviting himself into the home of a man who was outcast because of why in the eyes of the Jewish people?
David: Well, he’s a tax collector. In fact, he’s a chief tax collector. So, he’s in cahoots with Romans.
Karen: But he’s Jewish.
David: Yeah, of course,
David: But the Romans really don’t like him that much to begin with. They’re using him.
David: And he’s using the Romans in a sense. But yeah, he’s in a tough position. but he brought it on himself. Jesus, knowing him and knowing the needs that he has, says, “I’m going to your house today.” It’s pretty nice!
Karen: It’s wonderful! So, then they have time over whatever meal is served that Zacchaeus’ servants, he was a wealthy man, pulled together. And, you know, time to talk, time to talk about the soulish thing.
David: Let’s talk about Jesus. So, as you kind of read between the lines as you go through the Gospels on this area of hospitality, another area would be the disciples saying, “We don’t have time for all these kids. You’re bringing these kids here for him to pray a blessing over. He’s not into that. He’s into bigger things like kingdoms.” But Jesus says, “What? Suffer the little children to come to me. Such is the kingdom of God.”
Karen: Such is the kingdom of God. Well, we were going through preparing this podcast. We recall that yesterday our neighbors visited us. Our backyard faces our neighbor’s yard. Their house is on another street.
David: If you look through our back door, you’re going to see the back door of our neighbor.
Karen: Yeah. They have three little girls who appear at our house in the summer in good weather mostly.
David: Yeah, this is starting to happen now because spring is starting to happen as well.
Karen: So, when this family moved in, the girls would come around our house and ring the front doorbell. Well, mama keeps her eye on them when she’s working in the kitchen. She can see where they are. She can hear their voices.
David: But if the little girls go to the front door, they’re out of sight.
Karen: Yeah, she doesn’t know where they are. So, we put a doorbell in the back door so our neighbor girls can ring the back door. That’s so much fun when I hear that back doorbell ringing. So yesterday the back doorbell rang for the first time in spring. And I went to the back door and the little middle gal was there. Her name is Ivy. She’s the cutest little thing. She must be six or so. Do you think about that?
David: It’s hard for me to judge yet.
Karen: And then Jane, the oldest one. We haven’t seen it yet this spring. She’s busy with her girl things. And then there’s a little one, Athena, who has a lisp.
David: There’s Darla’s Nottinger.
Karen: Plus, her name is Athena. So, Ivy and I walked around the yard because everything was beautiful, new spring stuff. I said, let’s see if we can learn the names of all the things that are growing. So, she walked with me and I said, “Here are the Jean-Claude, and here are the Daffodils, and the Johnny Jump-Ups are up.” And, you know, just named a bunch of stuff. And walked all the way around the yard. It was a darling little conversation. I didn’t stay in front too long because I didn’t want to get nervous. And then one of her friends, her neighbor’s friend, a boy, who has a very distinct personality, joined us as we came to the back. And I thought, this is where you are hospitable to children. You want them to know how glad you are to see them; how glad you are to ring the doorbell. We have a group that we’re part of. It’s sort of a discussion group, and the leaders of that group also have two little girls. And so I went to Target, which is our box store close to us. And I bought about $100 worth of doll things, little girly. You know, baby dolls. Clothes and blankets, and they have pacifiers that they can put in the baby doll’s mouth, just stuff like that. And said, whenever you come to our house, then you’ll have something to play with. But in order to get these things broken, I dropped it off at their house, and just said to them, “I’m not going to miss anything. Tell me what I’m missing, and we’ll get that ready.” So, when the girls come, they have toys and things to play with when they’re in our home.
David: So that’s, you’re in a different world than I am.
Karen: You’re wonderful with kids. Why would you say that? But I’m just making more plans for them.
David: But it’s something that you become conscious of. And that’s a Christ-like thing. Good for you. I think that’s great. In fact, those kids are a great joy.
Karen: So, if we go through a study of scripture, we come to this story of the 5,000 fed talk about hospitality.
David: Well, the disciples aren’t sensitive. The 5,000, you know, I’ve not been in a situation where I saw 5,000 people coming to a place where I’m speaking. But Jesus has a concern for the people. He said they’ve been with us for a couple of days. They’re hungry. These people… He didn’t say this specifically but there are a lot of sick people in the group because a lot of the crowd is people bringing those that are loved ones who need to be healed.
David: So, Christ is sensitive to them. What are we going to do for them? You know, it’s not like they’ve come to hear us. How many are there? That’s what a lot of the ministry is counting the numbers because that shows success. That’s not where he is. He’s in empathy with what is going on. He feels what they feel, and he says let us figure out how we’re going to do it. They can’t figure that out.
Karen: Well… here is a boy…
David: The little guy over there, tell you to come here with his lunch.
David: It’s interesting though. It’s a part of who Jesus is in this hospitable sense. There’s an interesting thing Karen at the end of the Gospel of John because this is the story remembering the Christ is risen. He’s appeared seldom. But he appeared to the disciples. They know that he’s alive again. They’re trying to put it all together. Jesus had told them, “Go to Galilee and I will meet you there.”
Karen: And I think David, excuse me I don’t mean to interrupt you, but as I read the scriptures, I think his appearance in his resurrected form was altered in a way that it wasn’t the same.
David: That’s very well put. I’m glad you brought that up.
David: Yeah. Well, the two on the road to Emmaus…
Karen: They don’t recognize him.
David: …walk with him. They had no idea who he was. The conversation went on. He stayed at their house. And it’s at the table where he breaks the bread that all of a sudden bingo, no, it is in the knees gone.
David: But yeah, they didn’t know. In fact, that’s true. Mary didn’t know this was Jesus. She thought he was the gardener.
David: There’s a mystery beyond what we’re told in terms of all the details. But Jesus has met me in Galilee. And then there’s no Jesus, you know. What are we going to do Peter? Finally, I don’t know how to. Frustration. I said I’m going to go fishing, at least I know how to fish.
Karen: We know that Peter and John were there because they’re named after, I don’t know…
David: Well, there is part of the conversation after Jesus makes his appearance known. But this is just again the little touch that is so easy to miss the disciples. They’re told to cast their nets on the other side because their fish all died and caught nothing.
Karen: The man on the shore says to the one, “Cast your nets on the other side.”
David: And they get, there’s actually a number I don’t remember what it is, but it’s a hundred and some fish. Yeah, but what is Jesus doing?
Karen: Well, he’s prepared a fire on the little shore.
Karen: And then fix breakfast for them. And he invites them to have breakfast with him. And then they realize that it’s Christ between that miracle of the fish and the breakfast that’s been prepared for them. Then it’s revealed to them.
David: So, what a hospitable image this is. There’s breakfast for Mother Shawnie. I guess I know who it is, the extra that he goes to.
Karen: Let me give one more example. And then we can talk about how we’re going to apply this. These pictures of hospitality in our own lives. He says, “Come on to me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Wow.
David: Yeah, the rest is a word that connects with hospitality.
Karen: Yeah, in every way. And that invitation to come. So, we’ve been talking about hospitality. This is our fourth podcast on it. And one of the things we want to emphasize in this podcast is that we always think of hospitality as opening your home and inviting people into a meal or for coffee or whatever. And it is that. But David, it’s much, much more than that. And that I think is what these examples of Christ evoke in us. The meaning of it, because he didn’t have a home. It is the hospitable attitude. And it’s being aware of the people we’re passing by in our daily lives. And this has been a hard time, I don’t think often for those people who serve the public at counters, waitresses, or at our grocery store, the people that check out your food. And I actually asked one of them a few months back. I said, “Are you noticing that people are crankier than they used to be before COVID?” And she just looked up and rolled her eyes. So, we want to be very careful that we take time to say, “How’s your day going?” And I do little jokes and we laugh together, stuff like that. So that we’re exercising a moment-by-moment hospitality that makes their day just a little bit better.
David: And so, what we’re asking people to do, if they want to continue to grow without us having to continue to talk about this on the podcast, is just observe Jesus. One of the interesting things, Karen, is I was doing this, because we try to work through what we suggest. So, we just don’t say these are great ideas.
Karen: Are we doing this?
David: Jesus, the people he notices are amazing. The woman taken in adultery,
David: The prostitute who cries and cleans his feet with her tears in it. I don’t know the world of prostitutes at all. It’s just, that’s not my world.
Karen: But I will remind you, you’ve forgotten, that we did take a prostitute into our home. And she lived here for six years.
David: Yeah, I totally forgot about that. And she is a miracle. She calls me and calls you and updates us. She’s walking with the Lord. And she said, “What prayer request do you have?” She calls me Dad.
David: Okay, so take back that. Okay.
Karen: You don’t know the world.
David: Minimal understanding of that world. But it’s a world that is ostracized. It’s made glamorous in the movies, but it’s not glamorous yet.
Karen: When I was working on the book, Child Sexual Abuse, they began to get all these stories of women who had been abused in their childhood. And I was working a lot in women’s ministries. And so, after I spoke, women would come up and talk to me regarding prostitutes. I think that many of them have had experiences of early childhood sexual abuse. And the horror of it all is that many of the abuses are people in their own family. And you know, if Christ looked at that prostitute, knowing with his all-knowing self, what the conditions that rendered her in this situation. Where the other people were scorning her, what an evidence of his divinity and what an evidence of his healing hospitality that he was present for her and accepted her when she was an outcast. It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?
David: Yeah. So, what we’ve done is to give you an assignment that will help you because you look at the Gospels through different eyes. How was Jesus hospitable? To whom was Jesus hospitable and so on. And he enjoyed a good time as well. I mean, Matthew, that’s another text collector and Jesus.
Karen: He’s Jewish.
David: He’s Jewish.
Karen: During this Roman occupation.
David: So, Jesus didn’t say, “Okay, now you got a whole change of crowd. Don’t mess with those guys anymore.” He basically says, “I’ll come, I’ll meet your friends.” You know, it’s just he’s amazing, absolutely amazing. We’ll leave that. And I want to give just a little bit of direction. But first of all, I just want to say, so you got what we’re talking about as you continue to wrestle with our month-long challenge of becoming more hospitable. That Jesus be the ongoing example you follow. And we have a little reminder that we’ve talked about all along. We’ve printed a number of these now and we’re starting to get the response in this inhospitable world. It’s a quote from your Open Heart, Open Home, in this inhospitable world. Help me finish it.
Karen: A Christian home is a miracle to be shared. And this is a little wall art. It’s about 9 x 12 and can be framed. And so, we’re offering this to people. We’ll make sure it’s boxed up in mailers that won’t get folded or ruined in the mailing process.
David: Yeah, where are we headed next?
Karen: As far as another topic?
David: We’re going into the Kingdom. We’ll take a month on the Kingdom and Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God, which was its primary preaching theme.
Karen: It was. It was. I’ve counted it out.
David: And we will talk about what’s been happening with books written some 40 years ago. Some of them, the “Tales of the Kingdom”, and what the Lord is doing with those. It’s kind of exciting, and we haven’t talked about it that much, but…
Karen: Well, I think that we’re reminding ourselves of these books that we’ve written, the books for children of all ages, we’re reminded again why that was so important for us to get those books written. Because it was Christ’s major topic. David, I had never heard any theology on the Kingdom of God. I was raised in a conservative Baptist church. One church people all over our lives. It was not a theology that was part of conservative evangelicalism. And you were the first person who I knew began to…
David: There were other people…because I read books that they wrote that helped me…
Karen: Yeah. And my theology and my understanding of why Christ had come and how we were supposed to live and the grand vision for the world was revolutionized by that theology of the Kingdom of God. So, we’re excited to be heading into that topic again for our listeners on the Before We Go podcast. Very pertinent that before we go, we’d like to get this message across.
David: I re-recorded Karen, no sound effects, no music, just my voice, those 36 stories.
Karen: Yeah. Wow.
David: Took a good while. And we will listen to some of those, and they come alive, which is neat. Looking forward to it very much. Now, Dean, how can people make contact with us, okay?
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address: email@example.com. That’s all lower-case letters: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
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