Time to shift (yet again and hopefully this time round it would be a long term place!)… For safety reasons, I tell people to look out for a place to live. It never fails to amuse me as well as irk me at the responses I get, “Ahh did you try the woman’s hostel? Did you try the papers? One room is all you need right?” It is incredible how people offer solutions without knowing the needs or even asking what the needs are – as they know best! Why? Because they haven’t been in the other person’s shoes!
Actually I was reflecting on their responses and it just dawned on me, their response (most likely with a good heart) is because they expect others to live with their values. For many people, even Christians, housing is about ‘family’. So if you don’t have family and you are single and alone, you are deemed for a cage. (This is more relevant to the Asian circles I think, as back home people tend to promote independence and ‘space’).
Anyway back to this Asian setting… here…
You don’t deserve a ‘life’ so to speak… And for the people whose responses are as above, they don’t know life outside of their family and their bank balances. These people obviously live for themselves (so to speak – I’m talking proportion here!!) and count what they have as theirs – for their comfort, for their needs, for their “nuclear” or biological families.
These people obviously don’t know the blessings from His Bounty. They are not aware of how the early Church operated and thus they expect others also to live in a ‘cage’ like them. So, in their minds, a single woman however mature she may be, does not deserve the opportunity to keep house, run it with the sound moderation of your choice, offer a place of refuge for the hurting and wounded and lonely, enjoy cooking and thus hospitality etc etc. The single woman, in their eyes- is not a woman but a bird in a cage.
However thinking further, these people who think this way are the very ones trapped in a bigger cage of house and family. They most likely don’t know the joy of being a vessel of God’s love – to share and to care with everyone around them, especially with the family of believers! They haven’t experienced the outpour of blessings to bless others… Nor have they truly experienced the joy of living in atmospheres where one can revel in the wonders of creation of natural light, plenty of ventilation, shady trees, colourful birds, fragrant flowers and even perhaps the calm blue seas. So they are trapped with selfishness… All they see and comprehend is through the bars of their cages and thus expect others to be likewise… And as far as they are concerned, the size of the cage and it’s facilities depend on the number of heads to dwell within!
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another; 1not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” (Romans 12:10-13)
Distributing to the needs of the saints and given to hospitality is an act of being kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love – it would indeed flow out of a love for God as we have been simply commanded to love one another as ourselves! Wouldn’t we automatically do so when we are fervent in spirit, when we serve the Lord and when we continue steadfastly in prayer? Wouldn’t God in His mercy meet our needs if we were to strive to please Him by obeying in love, and not out of compulsion, what He has asked us to do?
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels”. (Hebrews 13:1-2)
How many of us would even consider entertaining strangers? When we don’t like certain biblical passages – perhaps because they set too high of a standard for us or perhaps we justify it saying we need to act wisely and not do anything to harm us – we tend to pacify ourselves that these verses were for the Romans and the Hebrews and whoever = and for His disciples – but not for us. Those were for biblical times, not for today – so we say anyway!
Yes God want’s us to use wisdom, indeed! He has promises us that He would grant it to anyone who asks for it! On the other hand, His commandments (which are all summed up by the 2 greatest commandments) wouldn’t be placed in His Word if He didn’t promise to equip us. Yes, we ask His Wisdom and seek Him when to entertain strangers and when not. I think of Elijah lodging with a widow – and the widow was blessed, blessed, blessed. Often we would use ‘culture’ and ‘reputation’ to define us – yes we definitely need to exercise caution – but not at the cost of disobeying what God is leading you to do. In the process of blessing another, God will be aiming to meet your need… and also to mould you more and more into His image, to restoration – so that there will be enhanced intimacy with Him?!!! Whoa… now isn’t that the greatest blessings of all…. one that doesn’t perish but is eternal? The one that brings the greatest joy mankind can ever experience!
Let’s release ourselves from the cage and stop pushing others into a cage… Let’s think beyond the box releasing the strongholds of culture and world trends! It doesn’t matter that there is an economy crisis out there and high cost of living. Our provision is from Jehovah Jireh. Let’s live from HIS bounty, let Him open the floodgates of heaven so that all can be holistically blessed… Let it keep flowing amidst the family of believers touching others who don’t believe with the mighty love of God almighty!