Tuning in to the Heart of God

Tuning in to the Heart of God-Jun23
Heartlands News

Being Transformed

For us. For everyone!

Jenna Blackwell, a member of the Tasmanian Baptists’ Mission and Leadership Development Team, gives insight into God’s amazing heart of grace.

Inner Critic: Why don’t you have everything together?
Jesus’ gentle voice: Did you hear about the disciples I chose?

We are all too familiar with our inner critic. And in the midst of our humanness, Jesus whispers, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). God’s grace is not sufficient for just some people. It’s sufficient for you.

This might seem like an odd transition to talk about hospitality, but if we can’t accept God’s hospitality toward us, I fear we have little hope to offer the world.

"God’s grace is not sufficient for just some people. It’s sufficient for you." Jenna Blackwell

In my recent ponderings about hospitality, I have felt God’s invitation to stretch and challenge my preconceived ideas. I am still learning a lot, but I offer to you a few key thoughts thus far:

Hospitality is a heart posture, not just an act or series of acts

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) says, “guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Hospitality is not just having some friends over for a meal. It is welcoming the stranger with the love of God. It is listening to one another’s burdens with the compassion of Jesus. And it is creating margin to be interrupted by Holy Spirit.

All our human effort cannot make us do this with longevity. It must be an overflow of the heart of God.

Our God is the King of hospitality

God’s heart is for the stranger and the outcast (in other words, for everyone). We particularly see this in the life of Jesus.

I love Jesus’ interaction with Peter in John 21. Peter, who boldly proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, also denied knowing Jesus in his time of betrayal. But here, resurrected Jesus meets Peter once more on the shore. Following a failed fishing trip, Jesus shares a meal with Peter, restores his identity and invites Peter into greater transformation.

Jesus’ heart is for Peter.

If we want to extend hospitality, we must learn how to receive.

Like Peter, we must learn how to receive from God. Similarly, Martha’s sister, Mary, gives us an example. Luke 10 invites us to wonder: What was so good about sitting at the feet of Jesus?

But we must also learn how to humbly receive from each other. When we learn what it is like to receive grace without merit, gifts without the ability to repay, and hospitality when we feel like we have nothing to offer, then we can learn to extend hospitality with humility, gentleness and radical love.

All of this has me wondering, if the people of God embraced ‘radically ordinary hospitality,’* how might our wider communities be transformed with the love of God?

Radically ordinary hospitality can indeed be used by the Lord to grow his people in grace and sacrificial living, to preserve practices, ideas, and cultures… to change the world… but (it) must be rooted and steeped in grace.

Rosaria Butterfield

When you think about it, we all often have opportunities to share radically ordinary hospitality – in a friend’s home, for a colleague having a rough day, for the stranger on the street, for your neighbour … for someone in need of God’s radical grace.

God’s gentle invitation

I’m learning how to practice hospitality in community. But in a simple way, I see the hospitality of God in the people I mentor and coach. In my privilege of being present and creating space, people find invitation to show up courageously. And as they do, they experience God’s gentle invitation to deeper transformation. They experience the whispering invitation, “my grace is sufficient for you, my child.”

It’s quite simple, quite every day, but it’s far from ordinary. In fact, it ends up being quite radical.

* Termed by Rosaria Butterfield in her book The Gospel Comes with a House Key.

Jenna Blackwell

Jenna Blackwell
Mission and Leadership Development Team

If you’re interested in exploring coaching, Jenna welcomes you to reach out: jenna@tasbaptists.org.au

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Tuning in to the Heart of God