Our Love’s for God’s Most Generous Expression: Our Learning, Growing, Living, Doing, in the Family of Faith. Hebrews 13:1-3

Hebrews 13:1-3 Amplified Bible

The Changeless Christ

13 Let love of your fellow believers continue. Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body [and subject to physical suffering].

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Love’s Generous Expression

Hebrews 13:1-3 Common English Bible

Our acts of service and sacrifice

13 Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place.

Keep Loving each other like family.

Do not neglect to open your homes to guests.

Remember the prisoners as if you were in prison with them.

What an incredibly interesting array of both ancient, contemporary ideas!

Loving each other like family – respecting and honoring one another!

Respecting the home, respecting the life of the family and their belongings.

By showing kindness to strangers, you could be showing kindness to a messenger of God.

Paying it forward, buying an extra burger to share with a homeless person, helping someone change a flat tire on their car, offering a ride to a colleague who needs one—in these ways and countless more, our God often gives us all opportunities to show hospitality and compassion for someone who has a need.

As I encounter people who are not part of a faith community, it saddens me when they describe Christians as less-than-compassionate people.

Words I often hear in these conversations are that Christians are aloof,not friendly or forthcoming; cool and distant. and judgmental and condescending.

Many people see church buildings in their communities as little more than social clubs, entertainment centers or worse, only occupied on any Sunday.

Any other day, the parking lots are 99.99% empty of cars and any activity.

They hear church people speak out mostly about what the members oppose.

Where is that sound of “little children of all ages” glorifying God and Jesus?

The world needs to see the Body of Christians as people of compassion—good-news people who minister and act like Jesus.

That will happen only when we finally nurture a habit of practicing compassion.

It is not by accident that the writer of Hebrews urges readers to love each other and to look out for the needs of strangers.

It’s easy to overlook the unusual or the unfamiliar.

It takes the love of Christ to step out, move out and reach out to the stranger who might just bring a singularly unique blessing that you never saw coming.

Learning, Growing, Living, in the Family of Faith

There’s all the difference in the world between describing what it means to ride a bicycle and actually helping somebody learn to get on the seat and pedal away.

Making a layer cake seems to be fairly straightforward when I look at the recipe books, but I haven’t had much success in making one that actually tastes right!

What I need is hands-on guidance: somebody to actually take the time to teach me to do it in front of me and then patiently allow me to try my hand at it too.

The moral instruction provided for us in Hebrews 13 is to be trained and formed in our lives not by learning to apply abstract principles but as a result of seeing these principles successfully or erroneously worked out in the family of faith.

We can read, for example, about what it means to love one another, but it is far better to observe such love in the lives of loving people.

We can understand that we are supposed to care for strangers, but we can experience it firsthand if we are brought up and raised in a home where such care, consideration and compassion for one another is faithfully practiced.

We can extend ourselves into areas of ministry and mission which are quite challenging – church prison ministry (https://heartprisonministries.org/) or Christian Prison Ministry (Kairos https://www.kairosprisonministry.org/)

We can read the principles and hear sermons, demands for sexual purity, but we will do far better if we are raised in a flourishing home where they are modeled or we are even able to sit in such homes as we visit other families in our church.

Praise God, the list of mission and ministry opportunities goes on and on.

Establishing these ethical norms is demanding.

It takes the first love of God, our time, effort and patience, and involvement.

The miracles wrought through purposeful discipleship, transformation cannot be achieved by searching the internet, watching a video or reading an article.

If information was enough to bring about transformation, then all we would need to do is write it down or say it.

But you can’t learn love, honor, and faithfulness from the content on a screen.

No, if you are to be content, pure, loving, and hospitable, then that is going to have to be proactively discovered and actively worked out in the family of faith.

Look, then, to your brothers and sisters who exemplify Christ-likeness in these ways.

Read Hebrews 13:1-3 again, praise God for those you know who live these verses out, then be sure to learn from them so in these ways you become like them.

Make it your aim to follow their example that you, like Paul, might humbly be able to say to others, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Easter is but a short time away.

Celebrating the ultimate act of agape love and sacrifice and service.

What will your efforts at discipleship and transformation in preparation for this coming Easter look like, sound like, be more Christ like in these coming weeks?

I have heard repeatedly: “it takes an entire community, an entire village.”

According to Wikipedia, the original quote “it takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb meaning it takes a whole community of people interacting with a child to ensure he or she grows in a healthy and safe environment.

Regardless of which stage of life we are all in: parents raising children, married with no children, single, or late adulthood, even a church, we need community.

In these times of recovery, perhaps we need to go back to the essential basics of the Gospel to learn it all over again – to teach it unto each other all over again?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners You loved us and gave Christ to be the propitiation for our sins. Help us in word and deed to increase and abound in brotherly love for one another, just as we also do for You. Give us wisdom as we enter into mission and ministry to our brothers and sisters in Christ and may we speak the truth in love to Your praise and glory. This we ask in Jesus name, AMEN.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Faithful in our Little Things. Faithful in our Wealth of Poverty! Why do we Choose Faith in God? Luke 16:10-11

Over the brief course my writing this devotional, I have received an uncountable number of requests, from quite literally every corner of the globe, for prayers to be lifted up to God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The predominance of these is a sincere, heartfelt request for intercession to be “lifted up” out of poverty. They ask me to pray unto God that their material needs are magnified and their station in life be uplifted through God’s benevolence and my powerful prayers. Typically, these requests for prayers are worded and phrased quite eloquently.

“I have no very little money to my name.” “What I do have plenty of is a whole lot of Poverty.” “It’s just a little thing. It doesn’t hurt if I fudge a little, does it?” “Does my wealth or my poverty matter to Jesus?” “I want to be faithful to God, but I have nothing to be faithful with!” “I so want to be an authentic Christian, but I only have my abundance of poverty to be authentic with.” I want to be an empowered, inspired and motivated follower of my Savior God, but I can only be motivated and be inspired and empowered by my vast wealth of poverty!”

All of these aforementioned concerns are absolutely legitimate prayer issues. I do everything I can to pray to God to give me the “right” words. They want to know how they can maximally serve God and their neighbors even if they have so precious little resources from which to serve their family needs. Service to God and service to our neighbors is absolutely needed to show the unyielding, unending magnitude of the unconditional love of God which resides in our hearts. Except, we only have our poverty to express our love of God from. Our love of God compels our hearts and our hands and our feet to move forward. But the reality of our “impoverished selves” limits what we believe we can do.

With such a vast wealth of poverty to live by, does my faithfulness matter? Does my trustworthiness matter? Jesus says, “Yes, it does matter.” Why? Because integrity is about faithfulness to our values and to our Lord, regardless of the price. Faithfulness in small things, including matters involving money, is an essential part of what reveals the truth about our authenticity as disciples. What we do with a little reveals a great deal about exactly what we will do with much.

Luke 16:10-13 New Revised Standard Version

10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, [a] who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [b]

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Our title this morning is “Be faithful in the little things.” We are looking at a principle that Jesus teaches and how he applies it to two different areas of our lives. The principle is stated most clearly in Luke 16:10. We can call it –

The principle of our having too little wealth, ask, can we have too much God”

Luke 16:10 – “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is unreliable in a very little is also unreliable in much.”

So, we have what is little in terms of material and monetary wealth and what is much which is our undeniable measures of poverty. And there is a relationship between them. How one does with what is little is a clear indicator of how one will do with much. This is stated by Jesus in both a positive and a negative way – whether we are faithful or unreliable with vast wealth or with vast poverty.

This verse is very realistic. If we can satisfy God in a small thing, then we will satisfy Him in a great matter. God observes the depths of man’s heart. If we are willing to practice the truth in small things, if we are willing to participate in the truth with the small things, then when big matters come upon us, even if we feel all of it is insurmountable, God will protect us so that we can all stand firm.

We may be poor in wealth; we may dream and wish and pray mightily for any way and any means out of our captivity to poverty, but whether we are poor in our bank accounts, poor in our spirits, we are forever infinitely rich in our God.

One too many times, we will limit our access to God’s infinite wealth. We will take our own action based on our own limited wishes for more things in small things too improve our socio-economic status and to bolster our self-esteem.

We will limit ourselves in our God-Esteem, become good at forgiving ourselves, believing that we do not deserve or need to care about such small things as trust and integrity and faithfulness. We cannot find reason to care, therefore God too, cannot and does not care about our being trustworthy and faithful either. As long as we do the maximum to stand firm in our own worrying about our big matters, everything will be OK. Hence, we miss the chance to satisfy our God, maximally serve our neighbors from our wealth of poverty one after another.

However, when we least expect it, when something “God” big happens to our wealth poverty and has to do with our own personal benefit, what do we do? If and when that “God Miracle” moment comes, will we recognize God’s blessing? Will we remember that God will recognize our faithful efforts and multiply our blessings 5, 10 or 100-fold? Will we grab onto these blessings and thank God for being forever faithful and trustworthy and true to His Word and His Promises?

The key here is, ‘Will we serve God from our “poverty,” do what he has tasked us to do?’ If we are faithful with the small responsibilities in this life that God gives us, God will give us greater responsibilities and honor us in the world to come.

The principle of our having too little wealth, ask, can we have too much God.

Mark 12:41-44 New Revised Standard Version

The Widow’s Offering

41 He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you; this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed from out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

This principle teaches us that what we do in this, our “impoverished life” will determine what we have in the life to come. God tests us in the little things of this life, before we get the real blessings of the world to come. Because he can tell from what we do in this life, what we should have in the life to come.

If we let our vast measures of poverty effect how we serve our God, if we aren’t trustworthy and faithful in ministering from deep “within the little things”, we will not be so quickly entrusted with the greater things – the much of the world to come. So, whether it is how we use our poverty of wealth or wealth of poverty in this life, or how we choose to use such poverty to fulfill the tasks that God has given to us in this life, our characters and integrity are continually being tested.

From our wealth of poverty, can we be faithful, trustworthy Prayer Warriors?

From our wealth of poverty, can we be faithful, trustworthy servants of God?

From our wealth of poverty, can we be faithful, trustworthy dish washers?

From our wealth of poverty, can we be faithful, trustworthy preparers of food?

From our wealth of poverty, can we be faithful, trustworthy servers of food?

From our wealth of poverty, can we be faithful, trustworthy bearers of water?

From our wealth of poverty, can we be faithful, trustworthy stewards of grace?

And so, my word of encouragement to you this morning is this be faithful in the little things of this world! Be radical in your giving – do not let fear of being held captive in a vast wealth of poverty drain or hinder your love of God and service to your neighbor. Serve God with reckless abandon – don’t let the things of this world distract you from what is truly important. Do this and you will be blessed with the much of the world to come – with what is true, with what is lasting and with what will be very soon your own – untold blessings in the kingdom of God.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us pray,

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for all that you’ve given me. I pray to ask for your guidance. Help me be faithful in the small things and the big things. Help me be just and make good decisions in small things and big things. I trust you and follow you. Guide me Lord and give me wisdom. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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