through His Word
by Jeannie Waters
Required: a foot stool, a pillow, one glass of ice-cold lemonade, a plate of homemade oatmeal cookies, and a hug
My precious mother believed these items were required to help guests feel like family in her country home. Refusing a foot stool was futile as she thought, “You must be tired.” And the pillow? “Why, you’d be much more comfortable with a pillow at your back,” she would insist.
Crossing her threshold comforted the hearts of all who entered. Visitors experienced a sense of coming home, of stepping out of a hurry-scurry world where fighting for acceptance was commonplace. At Sadie’s, they felt instant love and appreciation.
When guests arrived, my mom’s brown eyes sparkled like lightning bugs on a summer evening. The sound of her cheery, love-filled voice coupled with a hug and kiss on the cheek enveloped visitors with a sense of welcome. This sweet Southern lady served healthy helpings of hospitality and acceptance in her home, her church, and in the small town’s shops. God’s love for her overflowed to those she met.
Mom’s glassed-in porch was a haven to family and friends. Sitting on the upholstered glider revealed a gently sloping yard populated with pines and oak trees. Beyond the trees, the sun glistened on the water of her one-acre pond surrounded by cattails and tall grasses. The scene in a word? Comfort.
As guests munched on cookies, the perfect hostess would point out blooming flowers, “Mrs. Wren’s” nest, and an occasional deer. She’d inquire about the interests of guests and cheer on their endeavors. The lemonade and conversation flowed. The experience in a word? Welcome.
Although God is holy, He welcomes sinners into a relationship with Him when they repent and invite Jesus into their hearts. Man could never achieve the holiness of God on his own. Therefore, because God loved us, He sent His Son to pay for our sin and to offer an eternal relationship with Him (John 3:16). “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12 RSV). Jesus is the door through which the Father accepts and welcomes us into His family. Jesus tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).
Each time I entered my mom’s home, I felt welcomed, not as a stranger, but as a beloved child. I didn’t worry about my appearance, how I’d behaved, or what I would say. I simply enjoyed being with her. God welcomes us into His presence as His children and awaits our praise and thanksgiving. He listens patiently as we pour out our hearts, seeking wisdom in childlike faith. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1 RSV). “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'” (Romans 8:15 NASB). As a joyful child, we can figuratively “run into God’s throne room” in prayer, addressing Him as “Abba,” a term of endearment in an intimate relationship. We can speak freely to the Father who loves, accepts, and welcomes us into His presence unconditionally. This facet of our God delights me!
When Jesus welcomed my mom into her heavenly home, countless people shared stories of her loving heart. From the well spring of love Jesus placed in her heart, she touched the lives of others. Upon leaving her home, family and friends took precious packages with them. Their hands may have been empty, but comfort and acceptance were tucked into their hearts along with the assurance that they had been welcomed into Sadie’s heart as family. What causes you to experience and enjoy fellowship with God?
My mom’s legacy encourages me to delight in the way God welcomes me into His presence and to offer His love and acceptance to those I meet. Is there someone you could welcome in Jesus’s name this week either in your home or in another location? A smile can penetrate a shell of rejection surrounding a hurting soul. An invitation to join a group or participate in a church function can serve as a welcome mat to a person wondering if God cares. A kind word or deed can demonstrate the love of Jesus.
When do you feel welcomed by God? How can we extend His acceptance to other people? Please share a comment.
“Welcome one another,
therefore, as Christ has welcomed you,
for the glory of God.”
Romans 15:7 RSV
© Copyright 2017 by Jeannie Waters
Jeannie enjoys meeting people and finding ways to encourage them. She is a wife, mom, and grandmother who adores family gatherings, nature walks, and the Georgia Bulldogs. A retired teacher, she currently teaches English as a Second Language part-time at a local college.
Jeannie is a regular contributor to Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and has contributed to the following compilations: The Wonders of Nature (Worthy Inspired), Breaking the Chains (Lighthouse Bible Studies), and Just Breathe (Ellie Claire).
This post is a part of our Delighting in God’s Goodness series. Check out our other posts:
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