Sunday, June 11
I would like to start off this post with a short introduction. My name is Ruth Finnegan and I am married to Sean Finnegan and we have four sons, who range from age 11 to 1 month old. It is my joy and pleasure to be a stay-at-home mom! When Sean and I first got married we had a lot of discussion about “how are we going to be.” We decided to set a few tenets or standards for our life together. These were: seek righteousness; don’t be cheap, tip generously, only use good toilet paper, and be given to hospitality. Recently, I went to the store to stock up on toilet paper and they were out of our usual brand. I bought a cheap package to tide us over until I could go to the store again. Oh man! Mistake!! Sean started declaring, “Have we lost all of our principles?? What is this, sandpaper?! Should we stop tipping too?” I burst out laughing when he said this because I was instantly brought back to that conversation early on in our marriage. I went out and bought good toilet paper for the house and got rid of the cheap stuff.
Sean and I have been married for almost 14 years and we have always been passionate about being given to hospitality (Romans 12:10). Over the years, we have had many people come stay with us. Some come for just a night and some for many months. We feel that God has given us much and blessed us abundantly and that it is our joy to bless others with our home (and with our good toilet paper). I have found that you discover a lot about people when they stay with you in your home. I thought about this as I read Acts 20:17-38.
When Paul was in Ephesus, his mission was certain. He served and lived among the people, he kept back nothing, teaching them “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Paul was a true shepherd who cared for his flock and was very clear about his purpose. He made sure that he was not a burden. He took care of himself and those with him and he used every opportunity to teach and shepherd the flock there. He truly cared for people and genuinely wanted the believers to be protected from the wolves that were sure to come. Paul knew he had to leave and wouldn’t see them again. He implored them with these final words:
35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
And with that, he knelt down with them and prayed for them. When Paul left, they did not breathe a sigh of relief because he had inconvenienced them. No, they had deep sorrow in their heart because he had been a blessing to them.
We have had people stay with us that were all about what they needed or being served so when their time of departure came, we were thankful! We have also had the pleasure of having guests that infused our home with light and eternal blessings! They had eyes to see and wanted to be a blessing and help. When we go about our lives and come into contact with others, let’s strive to be like Paul. He was all about teaching the eternal things of life like the Kingdom of God. He was not a burden but a blessing to the believers and sincerely cared for them. He didn’t complain about his lot as a missionary, he was driven by the holy spirit even when it came to his own discomfort and sacrifice. Let’s strive to encourage others and remember it is more blessed to give than to receive!
(Photo Credit: http://www.alittleperspective.com/acts-20-2016/)