“Any building is a temple if you make it so.” Phil Knight
I read this quote and it brought to mind this old post which was a good reminder for me, so I hope you don’t mind a redo!
People say I have the gift of hospitality, but I once put a cup of salt, instead of teaspoon of salt, into a batch of lasagna so clearly it can’t be about gourmet cooking. I also once totally forgot that we had invited six people for dinner, so hospitality apparently doesn’t hinge on attention to details. Instead, I would agree with someone I heard recently who said, “Hospitality is inviting heaven into the house”.
Actually I’d expand that to say, “Hospitality is inviting heaven into the house…the bus, the office…the hair salon…the airplane…the parking lot.” And I know many people who do that much better than I do.
For a season, some mentors of ours, Gordon and Gail MacDonald were pastoring in New York City. They befriended some city bus drivers who were Christ-followers, but felt they didn’t have an environment for ministry. Gordon pushed back and suggested:
“Why don’t you start up your buses each morning and, while the engine is warming, walk down the aisle of the bus and shout, ‘In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, I declare this bus to be a sanctuary where passengers will experience something of the love of Christ through me.’ You can be a pastor in your own sanctuary.”
The bus drivers took his suggestion and experienced a transformation of perspective on their everyday life. Suddenly their buses were a safe place where they were aware God was present and welcoming.
For my friend Anne a 747 is her sanctuary. I can’t imagine anyone more full of the love of Jesus caring for weary travelers with joy and patience on the long flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam. Her flights are places where God is present and welcoming. Recently Anne switched her schedule to work this flight when I and my colleague were on our way home. She treated us like royalty, but she does that with everyone she meets! Can you even??
Another friend moved to a new home last year and before painting over the walls of her living room, this is what she wrote.
Another friend, Daoud Nassar, has a farm outside Bethlehem that is surrounded by Israeli settlements. The government has blocked the road to his farm with boulders so you have to walk in. They have restricted him from building anything above ground, so he uses caves. They have repeatedly bulldozed the olive trees he grows. But his farm, called Tent of Nations, is a sanctuary. This is the sign that greets everyone.
Welcome, Jesus. May each place we set our feet today be a sanctuary, a piece of heaven on earth.
Where is your sanctuary today? Might you take a minute to dedicate your space to the work of God?