Friday, July 31, 2015
When Our Hospitality Runs Out
John 2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
This, Jesus’ first miracle is one in which we seen his work in extending hospitality. It was the responsibility of the hosts to throw the party which should have lasted for days. People would come from all around to enjoy the hospitality which would include food and drink. To run out of supplies would be a horrible embarrassment to this family and Jesus’ mother knew that this was the case. Mary may not have known that Jesus would perform a miracle, but may have thought that as her oldest son he could slip off and do something about the situation. The problem would soon become more than just embarrassing for the hosts. Maybe they hadn’t planned well — or maybe more guests came than they had invited — but they were in trouble. Their resources for hospitality had come to an end.
Jesus did step in and respond in the midst of their need. He provided the needed wine so that the event could be completed. People were amazed and praised the host for the quality of this new wine which was served. When the hospitality of the host had exhausted his resources, then Jesus took over and the extension of the hospitality glorified God.
As a people of God we are expected to show hospitality but we may just find ourselves in the same position as the host family of the wedding party. We may be planning to reach out to those around us — minister to those who need to experience the hospitality of God. Suddenly we realize that we have been trying to minister out of our own personal resources and they will soon be exhausted. Panic ensues as we find ourselves in a very embarrassing predicament. Ministry to others isn’t going the way that we thought it might and we are tempted to throw in the towel.
Who knows what’s happened. Maybe we got over-extended in our invitations, thinking that we, personally, could fix everyone’s problems. Now we’re exhausted and instead of looking for ways to continue, we give up. Or maybe we simply didn’t plan well and we’ve run out of resources. Instead of confessing our failure we look for ways to cover up.
Mary knew where to go when the hospitality had run out. Our holy God invites us into a lifestyle of hospitality, one that depends upon the gracious resources given to us through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us into hospitality that is not a program, but rather a lifestyle that includes complete and total dependence upon God. It is only in this way that our hospitality will not run out for it is not about what we can accomplish on our own, but what we can do together with God.
Exhausted and tired of trying to do it all on your own. Are you finished with extending hospitality. Take a deep breath and enter into rest with the God of all hospitality and let his grace flow through you. He will provide the resources and it will be better than anything you could ever do on your own.
Lord, may I rest in the arms of your gracious hospitality. Amen.
Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.