Summary: If you want to enjoy intimate fellowship with your incredible Lord, take the time to welcome strangers and stand near Him. Then believe Him when He tells you He wants to do the impossible in and through you.
Some time ago, a newspaper in Tacoma, Washington, carried the story of Tattoo, the basset hound. Tattoo didn't intend to go for an evening run, but when his owner shut his leash in the car door and took off with Tattoo still outside the vehicle, he had no choice.
A motorcycle officer named Terry Filbert noticed a passing vehicle with something that appeared to be dragging behind it. As he passed the vehicle, he saw the object was a basset hound on a leash.
“He was picking them up and putting them down as fast as he could,” said Filbert. He chased the car to a stop, and Tattoo was rescued, but not before the dog reached a speed of twenty to twenty-five miles per hour, and rolled over several times.
The dog was fine but asked not to go out for an evening walk for a long time. (John Ortberg, Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 4; www. PreachingToday.com)
Tattoo reminds me of a lot of people I know. They’re picking them up and putting them down as fast as they can, rolling over several times, as they’re being dragged at a break-neck speed through life. As a result, they miss out on so much, especially if they’re believers.
Jesus said to His followers, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Jesus wants to reveal some wonderful, divine secrets to us, because we’re His friends, but sometimes we’re too busy to listen. You see, we as believers in Christ have the privilege of intimate fellowship with an incredible God; but we don’t always enjoy that privilege, because we’re too busy.
So how do we learn to slow down enough to enjoy our relationship with God? How do we learn to relish the fellowship we can have with our Lord as people of faith, so that we have the pleasure of hearing from Him? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Genesis 18, Genesis 18, where Abraham finds a way to enjoy that privilege.
Genesis 18:1-2 And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth… (ESV)
At this point, Abraham doesn’t know it’s the Lord coming to talk to Him with two of his angels. All he knows is three strangers have arrived in the heat of the day, needing refreshment. So Abraham welcomes them. In typical mid-eastern fashion, he bows low before them and he offers them something to eat.
Genesis 18:3-8 …and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! [that’s 20 quarts!] Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate. (ESV)
Abraham gives three total strangers a great meal: fresh roasted veal, cheese, milk, and more bread than they could ever want. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” That’s exactly what Abraham is doing here. He’s entertaining angels, and the Lord Himself, without even knowing it! (yet). God shows up, personally, in the form of three strangers, needing rest and refreshment, and Abraham, by taking the time to provide for their needs, ends up enjoying intimate fellowship with his incredible Lord.
Isn’t that what you really want – intimate fellowship with our incredible God? Then like Abraham, slow down enough to embrace the outsider, to show hospitality to those who need it, to…
I like the way Max Lucado puts it in his book, Outlive Your Life:
Long before the church had pulpits and baptisteries, she had kitchens and dinner tables. Even a casual reading of the New Testament unveils the house as the primary tool of the church. The primary gathering place of the church was the home. Consider the genius of God's plan. The first generation of Christians was a tinderbox of contrasting cultures and backgrounds. At least fifteen different nationalities heard Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Jews stood next to Gentiles. Men worshiped with women. Slaves and masters alike sought after Christ. Can people of such varied backgrounds and cultures get along with each other?