Open House?

“Open House” signs are a common phenomena in the real estate business. Agents await prospective clients and the owners make themselves “scarce” so that prospective buyers may carefully consider a major purchase.

As Paul’s letter to Philemon nears its conclusion, he adds a “P.S.” before the final greetings. Verse 22 is not the heart of the letter, but before he rests his pen, Paul indicates his plans to visit Philemon in Colosse. If God wills, in answer to the prayers of many, Paul will be released from the chains by which he has been restricted over several months. Once that release comes, Paul intends to travel, to reconnect with churches and fellow Christ-followers as God permits.

“And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.” (v.22)

This post script raises a variety of practical issues for us to consider in terms of our own obedience.
#1 If God has entrusted us with a home, how are we using it?
#2 Do we have any “guest rooms” which may serve as “hospitality suites” for visiting missionaries, pastors, or other believers travelling through the area?
#3 What plans are we making for the future if God permits?
#4 Do we have any ‘visits’ to make, any relationships which need to be restored/
#5 Who is praying for us?
#6 How up-to-date is our prayer list?

Paul had probably enjoyed the hospitality of Philemon and Apphia on a previous occasion. As he writes now from a sparse prison cell, he recalls times of fellowship, perhaps wonderful meals, times of fellowship and teaching in this Colossian home. You can imagine Paul’s thinking “O to visit Colosse again. What does God have planned for me? Will I be released? Or will the entrance to heaven be from Rome?”

I can only imagine that Philemon’s prayer life was challenged with this simple request. Had he stopped praying for Paul? Would Paul be released? What was God’s plan?

May God equip us to use all of our resources for His glory. May we have the joy as intercessors of testifying “The LORD has done great things for us and we are filled with joy!”

I offer thanks to God for a multitude of believers around our world who have blessed me with hospitality. Many a memory comes to mind of meals and overnight stays with those who have been generous!

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