“So when are you going to host a community group?”

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A woman in our church just bought a new house. As soon as my son caught word of this new purchase, his first question (and I’ve never met a child or adult who asks more questions than my 8 year old) was, “So when are you going to host a community group?”

How cool is that? He has associated home ownership with hosting a community group. It’s kind of like the GEICO commercials: “It’s what you do.” You have a home, so the question is not “if,” but “When, are you going to host?”

But unlike a GEICO motivation: “it’s what you do,” we see a different motivation from scripture: the gospel. When God calls Abram in Genesis 12, he very clearly claims that He will bless Abram. But what is often lost (particularly by those who know it’s there) is the purpose for that blessing. There’s a “so that” I often ignore practically, despite recognizing it’s presence and theological importance. Abraham, as he later became known, was blessed SO THAT he would be a blessing to others, and that all the families of the Earth would be blessed through Him. So Israel was designed to be a blessing for the nations. It failed, but Jesus did what Israel did not do, and now by faith in Him, that blessing comes to us.

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify[c] the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

So blessing others is not just what we do, but it’s who we are, and why we do we what we do. Because of Jesus, Christians are a blessed people. But we are blessed for a purpose. The blessing of faith in Christ-along with any blessing that comes down from above- is not an ends but a means to an end: to bring praise to God and love/bless others. So if we consider our identity as a blessed people of God, then that becomes the lens through which we view our physical blessings such as houses, apartments, boats, cars, computers, or any kind of skill.

I’m not saying that everyone (who has room) has to host a community group. Some are more gifted in hospitality than others. And I’m not painting myself as a model of hospitality. We had neighbors over to play and swim this Sunday, and one stayed to watch football. But I didn’t want to share my pizza (I don’t mind sharing the pool), so my first reaction was to scold my younger son for inviting his friend to stay for dinner without first asking me. That was my first reaction, when my kid wanted to bless another. So I’ve got a ways to go!

But if your identity is truly in Christ, you’re going to begin to ask yourself (or ask others to help you discern), how may I use any blessing God has bestowed upon me for the blessing of others?  The cool part is that a blessing shared, brings joy in Christ, while a blessing hoarded often indicates that we’ve been seeking a vain idol and not Jesus.

 

 

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