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Hospitality is from the Heart 5: Beach Retreat Hospitality

Day 5 in Hospitality is from The Heart Series

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord (John 21:9-12, ESV).

Can you imagine being served breakfast by none other than Jesus, Himself? We can’t really say this has happened for us, but we do see how kind, caring, loving and hospitable Jesus was from this passage in John 21. I’ve never really had much of a chance to get into fishing, but I remember sending off my husband and son, on a warm summer day, to do some fishing in Myrtle Beach, SC. While we had great hopes that they would come back to shore with plenty of fish, they came back empty handed. They were hot, tired, and disappointed. While I was not hot or tired, I was disappointed for them, and had hoped for a more profitable day for them.

Once we were back together on land, my men were hungry for dinner. An early start with a hurried breakfast, and a long day out on the ocean, left them famished. And so, the first order of business after some cleaning up was to find some dinner. I think of these disciples, out fishing the whole night, only to catch nothing. They are met by a Man early in the morning who asks them if they caught anything. When they told Him they had not, He asked them to reposition their nets to the other side of the boat. I’m sure they thought it was a crazy request, because at the time they didn’t know Who had given this instruction. Upon obedience, they found their nets full—153 large fish in all, and knew it must be Jesus!

Their story had a great ending, because the Creator of those fish—the very One who could even command them to swim toward that net, stepped in and turned their fishing trip around. But even still, these men were tired, weary and hungry. I love how in this moment, Jesus didn’t just provide the fish they had hoped to catch, but He met their physical need of nourishment. When the disciples disembarked, they didn’t have to attend to making a fire, or preparing the fish to grill for themselves. They didn’t have to worry about a need for bread—it was all prepared and ready for them, right there on the beach!

We can learn from this example of Jesus caring for His disciples in this way. He saw their need, and even before they stated their hunger, He lovingly provided for them. While this was a physical gesture, we know He always longed for more. Jesus always has a spiritual interest in every one of us. While He has never grilled me a fish filet, He has given me every blessing—providing me with physical nourishment, but even better, He has met my spiritual need of salvation.

We will encounter those in life who need a meal or a home to get some much-needed rest. We can step in and provide for those who are lacking, but we can go a step further and address any spiritual needs they may also have. We can follow the pattern Jesus set for us through His own life to not only serve and meet physical needs, but to share the news of the gospel with any who are still lost and in spiritual darkness. 

I love thinking of Jesus and His precious scarred hands lovingly preparing this meal for His disciples. It displays His love for them, and it shows how He deeply cared for them. That was a special breakfast for those men, sorely missing their Friend after His death and resurrection. This was the third time that He had revealed Himself to His disciples following His resurrection, and I’m sure it encouraged them greatly and warmed their hearts. Hospitality does that—it encourages, and it warms and cheers the hearts of those we entertain. It’s not an obligation—it’s a blessing! This was a simple meal of bread and grilled fish— it wasn’t elaborate or expensive. Giving what we have is all about our hearts, and not about what we often make it out to be. Give. Share. Comfort. Encourage. Warm their hearts. And when you do, you show the love of Jesus, and live out the example He left for us to serve and meet the needs of others. 

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