Family and Community: Belong
For the past two and half years, my family has called Colorado home. I serve the Lord as a homemaker and my husband serves Him at the Hmong District. Living in the Rockies, we have learned the importance of family and community. One, we live quite the distance from familiar faces and two, our ministry has given us the privilege to do life with individuals and families from across this nation. We have welcomed many into our home and we’ve been welcomed countless times into the homes of others. Regardless, whether friends are staying with us in Denver Metro or we’re staying with members of the church elsewhere, one thing is true upon every departure, we/they enter as friends, sometimes strangers, but we all leave as family.
As followers of Christ, we have a Christian duty to receive people both into our homes and our lives. Our homes should be warm and inviting. Our relationships should be kind and loving. Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In other words, we are to care for all persons as we would like to be cared for ourselves, especially the weak and vulnerable. It means embracing family and friends and yes, enemies and strangers alike. As someone with many insecurities, the thought of opening up my home and myself to others is nerve-wrecking. I’m someone who can over-think. What if I say something wrong? What if my home is not clean enough? What if my food is not up to par? What if I am not who they’re expecting? Yet, this is what God calls us to do. And over the course of my husband and my ministry, we have seen its fruits. We cannot thank the Lord enough for the friendships and relationships that have been built simply through acts of service.
We are to care for all persons as we would like to be cared for ourselves, especially the weak and vulnerable.
We are currently living in unprecedented times. There are so many uncertainties. Because of Covid-19, many people have chosen to live in isolation. As a people called to community, my prayer is that this does not become the norm. Yes, this pandemic should be taken seriously. Yes, we should take proper precautions. Yes, we should not be reckless. But as the author of Hebrews writes, we should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing. In other words, should opportunities for fellowship and relationship arise, we should seize each moment. There are so many people both inside and outside the church whose hearts desire to be loved and whose souls long to belong. Hospitality and kindness may be exactly the medicine they need, especially in this day and age, to remind them how much they’re loved by God. In Matthew 25:35 Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.”
In other words, should opportunities for fellowship and relationship arise, we should seize each moment. There are so many people both inside and outside the church whose hearts desire to be loved and whose souls long to belong.
Serving the Lord is a privilege beyond anything else found in this world. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news? God desires your service; would you allow God to use you now? Though I am far from perfect, the worst of sinners, and fall short all the time, my commitment is to the service of our King. In the words of the apostle Paul, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” Open up your homes. Open up yourselves. Take up the challenge. People desire community, a sense of belonging, and most importantly, they need Jesus. Don’t waste a day for life is but a vapor.
Susan Thao (N. Kx. Xeev Tuam Thoj)
Susan and her family currently reside in Brighton, Colorado. She is the wife of Reverend Toua Thao, Director of NextGen Ministries at the Hmong District. They are the proud parents of four children: Ezekiel (15), Israel (14), Shiloh (7), and Psalmist (1). Susan loves to sew pajntaub, play board games, watch Netflix and K-dramas. Coffee is her pastime.