In this passage we see revealed the main reason why John is writing this short missive. A group of travelling missionaries is on its way to the church of which Gaius is a member and John urges them to receive them and bless them with loving Christian hospitality. In the Ancient Greek world showing hospitality to the stranger was one of the guiding principles and it was done freely and joyfully. If you travel to India you will find a similar commitment even amongst the very poor. Something which was generally assumed to be done well was a challenge for Christians to do even better. In the early Church, the Christian home was the place of the open door and the loving welcome. Some in Bearfield do hospitality well, pouring gifts on the visitor and enjoying time spent with them. If hospitality is something you struggle with, I would urge you to start small and invite those you know around for a cup of tea. We have a friend who doesn't cook, but loves to talk with people and she will buy a whole meal in one from a supermarket, people have come to see her rather than have a lavish feast. My mum was extremely hospitable and I as a child would often discover that there was someone new at the breakfast table and who would live with us for a few months. Rare were the times when we had our Sunday roast just as family and one of the great things of hosting visitors was that the puddings became classier! So, this was a world of travelling missionaries, who gave up home and comforts to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. They would take nothing from non-believers in case they were accused of taking money under false pretences and so they were completely reliant on the generosity of Christians. When I was young, our church would often host missionaries who were on a years furlough and for a time we had a house set aside for their use. To me, I came to recognise that not everyone was called to be a missionary and many others were called to work in a secular job and be in a position to give regularly to them. Quite a few missionaries whom I knew were paid no salary but were wholly reliant on the regular giving of those in work. Thus does the Kingdom of God effectively grow!
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