Jesus gave His disciples a road map for taking His Kingdom into the world and it was very simple. He said go where you are welcomed, receive what they offer you, see what need they have and release blessing into that need and then you can tell them that the Kingdom of God is near. Matthew 10:5-12.
Now we know that the disciples were going to rural communities where warm hospitality was highly valued, and probably many would recognized them as having been with Jesus, nevertheless these instructions, this template for connecting with people, can still help us today.
We might not find ourselves invited into many homes, especially in these covid times, and people may not know that we are followers of Jesus when they first meet us, but in a sense every interaction we have with another person is like someone inviting us into their world. It may be a brief encounter , and we may only see just into a small part of their world, but if we can see it the Jesus way we could see it as an opportunity to build some level of relationship and release a blessing.
These invitations vary from brief encounters, for instance with the postal delivery person, or the cashier at the supermarket, to the casual chat with a passer by, or someone we meet when out walking, to the longer more significant interaction with our neighbours, or even more in depth with family and friends, albeit on a zoom call or face time etc.
The pattern stands, and if we can see it as an honour to be able to cross the threshold into someone’s life, (even if just into the hallway metaphorically speaking), and can accept their hospitality at whatever level they set it, if we can thank the Lord in our heart for them and for this moment where our lives connect, we may well find that our warmth and friendliness opens the door to further conversation for us to see if they have a need that we can meet, or for which we can pray.
In these days of free health care, and good drugs the person may not have sickness in their family, (though often they do have), but they might have loneliness or worries that we can address with our prayers and actions. The equivalent of ‘healing the sick’ can be simply looking to bring the Kingdom of God into their situation by blessing them as the Lord leads.
Personally I have often been challenged by those gifted ones who move dramatically in ‘words of knowledge’ and ‘the prophetic’. They talk with strangers on a plane or in a shop, and see them dramatically healed or set free from some oppression. If you’re like me, we can easily write ourselves off as effective ambassadors for our wonderful Saviour, but may be we need to be open to a whole variety of gifting that can bless, like a prompting to take some nourishing home made soup to a neighbor who has lost all appetite, taste and smell to covid. Then if our gift and blessing is received we can tell them in whatever way seems appropriate to them, that the Kingdom of heaven has come near.
Whatever we feel about ourselves as carriers of the gospel, and however bold we feel, my experience has been that if I can start by thanking God in my heart for those connections that occur with people during the day, I am more likely, as I welcome these ones into my life, even for a moment, to sense the nudges of the Holy Spirit, to open up conversations and to be able to bless those I meet.