By: Ariette Hung, Summer Intern
The art of hospitality is an art that Christ has perfected and it is an art that we can only emulate through His spirit’s guidance and empowerment. In our human finiteness, we are limited in our capacity to be compassionate towards others. We can be stretched so thin that our ability to give grace can snap. We are finite in our threshold of patience. When we rely on our own human strength, we will fail.
Yet the beauty of the gospel reminds us that we have received the power of the Holy Spirit. As believers in Christ, we have access to Him and the spiritual strength that He gives us to take His plans to fruition. He fills us up with Himself, and when His grace and love fill up our lives, it overflows.
When I start my day, I like to start it with prayer. To pray to start off my day is like tuning an instrument before I play - tuning myself to God’s guidance and giving into His grace daily. I ask God to fill me up with Himself. When I ask God to give me His eyes, I am given the discernment to see beyond the facade of brave faces and instead, I see brokenness. With His vision, I am starting to see attention-seeking behaviours of a child as a cry for compassion rather than just an annoying whine or inappropriate actions. God stirs in my heart a shift towards His own compassion.
When God fills me with Himself, my perspective shifts from egocentrism to a kingdom minded mentality. What I do or what I say is not about me, it’s about bringing the glory to God and loving others like He loves them...and in light of His love for me and the grace I am walking in, I am to walk in the same love and live in the same grace I have been so abundantly given. When I reflect on my own walk with Christ and how the gospel has impacted my life, I think of my reconciliation with God in Christ Jesus. It is the greatest reunion and wholesome filling of the voids earthly disappointments leave. The riches of knowing Christ and the kingdom of God what I want my campers to experience, too.
We cannot change lives or people’s hearts - God does that. But we can do our part in loving radically, giving sacrificially and extending grace like Christ who first perfected the art of hospitality. We can only do this by the strength we have through God. Lest we forget how much we need Him. His love keeps flowing and it keeps us going.
To those who are exhausted - emotionally, physically and spiritually - find rest in Him alone and lay your burdens down to the One who cares for you. I pray that He fills you today to love with His love and that you experience His love for you over and over again, because to show Him is to know Him in all his breadth, length, height and depth.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory, He may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith -- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ariette Hung is going into her third year of Child and Youth Care undergraduate studies at Ryerson University. This summer is her first internship with Toronto City Mission at the Willowtree site. She likes to read, explore, document life, write and eat. She believes that bad jokes are the best kind and brunch is always a good idea. She looks forward to what God has in store for this season!