Being a Hospitable Family
As believers, we are united together as members of the family of God and are called to appropriately encourage each other (1 Timothy 5:1, 2). One way of doing this and expressing love and having fellowship with each other is through being hospitable.
Our towns and cities are full of people from different countries and cultures. Hopefully, we also have people in our churches from diverse backgrounds. Seeing believers from different cultures, countries, and languages worshipping God is an expression of him being glorified by people from all nations. Such diversity enriches our churches as we are brought beyond our limited perspective as we share the experiences and insights of those who are quite different from us.
Equal in Christ
This leads to the importance of seeing how we view people who are different from us. When meeting people from different backgrounds, some people can be scared and wary of them. Being different can be seen as odd and therefore wrong. Yet, it is important that we see others as equal in the Lord, people we can learn from, and people we can have fellowship with.
It is also important to think about how we relate to internationals. Being away from your own home, culture, language, friends, and family can lead to people being lonely. If they are left out of local activities and treated as different, this sense of loneliness will be compounded and will probably lead to isolation.
In my own life, I have been blessed to experience the church as an international family. Many years ago, a Belgian family “adopted” me as one of their own. This meant that I was included in birthdays and would have practical help if needed. I am seen as one of them, not only by that family but also by others around us. They are a real blessing in my life and an expression of the church being the family of God and of his love for one another.
All believers are part of the family of God and we are called to care for each other in a familiar way. In our local churches, there may be people from different countries and cultures than our own who, while enriching our understanding of the gospel, may be lonely and in an isolated position. It is important for us to see how to express the family of God to internationals and to do life together in a way that demonstrates the love of God.