The Wilkerson farmhouse in Ohio is a place where people encounter the love of Jesus and incredible stories begin. David Wilkerson was visiting family at the farmhouse when he received the exhortation that spurred him on to the powerful ministry chronicled in his bestselling book, The Cross and the Switchblade. Dee and I celebrated our first Christmas together there as she introduced me to the Wilkerson side of her family. That Christmas, I saw God’s love in the kindness of our family and learned new, beautiful aspects of his character — our God is a Father who delights to give us good gifts, who cares about all our small hopes and needs.
Hospitality is one way we share the gospel through the lives we live. And often, it is when our arms are open wide that we look most like Jesus.
When we share the gospel, we are like travelers who come upon a man on the road. Though footsore and hurried, we stop. Clearly, our fellow traveler has no place to go. “Come on, then,” we say, throwing our arm around his shivering shoulders. “In my father’s house, there are many rooms.”
Something wonderful happens when we love others like Jesus loves us. Suddenly, our own eyes open to see Jesus in a new way. When we feel compassion and concern for our neighbor, when we urgently desire for them to experience life and freedom in Jesus, we begin to understand Jesus’ compassion and concern for us, the abundance of the love he offers us.
It’s as if, climbing toward the farmhouse, arm-in-arm with our fellow traveler through the snow, we see the light in the windows through their eyes. It seems brighter than before. The smell of the feast drifting out the door is richer. We experience both the joy of arriving as a guest and the joy of welcoming others. Our joy doubles as we invite others to join us in “our Father’s house.”
As we enter a season of harvest and gratitude, I am so grateful for each of you and for your love that has enabled millions to see Jesus and join us in our journey to our Father’s house. I pray you see Jesus’ great love for you in ever new and deeper ways.
For the harvest,