The second descriptor for the Transforming Community value is:
We have said that the commitment to community transformation is not just about initiating and managing projects. It is about creating a culture. That doesn’t happen without being prepared to give of ourselves and of what we have. It costs. And yet it is a price we pay gladly as we see it leading to changed lives and changed communities. We give generously toward this work of God’s kingdom, not just of our material wealth but in sharing our hearts and lives with people from all kinds of backgrounds.
As well as giving, we receive. We receive people into our hearts, our homes and our church community. The practice of hospitality, of opening our hearts and lives to people, is a key to mission. Jesus practised it often, partying and feasting with all the ‘wrong people’ and becoming known as a ‘friend of sinners’ because he not only accepted such people with unconditional love, but embraced, valued and celebrated them. We see this perfectly expressed in his parable of the lost son, where he throws a party with the fattened calf when his broken sinner of a son returned (Luke 15:11-32 ). We get to reflect this heart of the Father to every lost person who comes among us, making their first faltering steps back to the Father.
Too often Christians have been like the elder brother in that story, judging and drawing back from the sinners. But a church filled with people who reflect the generous heart of the hospitable Father can not only welcome one lost ‘sinner’ but can change the world.
Christians filled with the authenticity, commitment, and generosity of Jesus would be the most spectacular sign in the history of the human race.Brennan Manning
Thank you Father that you teach us to be generous, for your love is extravagantly and recklessly generous. Thank you Jesus that you show us how to practise the hospitality of the heart. Holy Spirit help us be more and more like this. Amen.