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by Mary Kate Hipp
I recently returned from living in Israel for four months. One of the biggest cultural takeaways for me was the abundant hospitality offered by anyone and everyone I encountered in my travels through the entire country and its neighboring country, Jordan!
Copious hospitality is a part of the fabric of the beauty of the Middle East. Perhaps to some of you this may come as a shock because it is easy for many Americans to hear "Middle East" and immediately think of the tensions, religious differences, and violence we heard about on the news. The hospitality I experienced was unlike anything I have experienced in America though.
In fact, it is common for Middle Easterners to offer more than they can give for the sake of hospitality and it is highly offensive to reject or refuse their offers. To extenuate my point further, one time I wandered into a random open door in the Old City of Jerusalem (a common practice my school encouraged us to do, do not worry) and it turned out to be someone's home! The family politely informed me it was their home but before asking me to leave, they offered me tea or coffee.
The hospitality of Middle Easterners is not a recent practice, it has been embedded into the culture since Genesis 1. To this point, in Luke 11, Jesus is exemplifying this very principle of hospitality. He is the ultimate host, He will offer abundance if you but ask, seek, knock. Wander on in to Jesus' home and He will offer you exactly what you need in abundance. If you are still doubting the goodness of Jesus' "hospitality", remember what He gave you and me on the cross at Calvary. He gave His life, abundantly more than anyone else would have given for the sake of your sins!
Praise Jesus for His hospitable gift!
*Picture of a Bedouin man preparing tea for my class on the side of a mountain per hospitality tradition!
O Lord, we praise You for Your great hospitality. Thank You for being a God who abundantly gives if we but ask, seek, knock. You alone God can give us abundantly more. Amen.
Spend some time in prayer sitting with your Father, asking, seeking, knocking. Be bold and ask, see what He might do and don't say no when He gives!