Toads, Turtles, and Tree Houses

When summer months came to our homeschooling family, I had a hard time keeping up with the activities of my young sons. As they explored the farm, they frequently left their new discoveries on the kitchen counter to share with me. Unfortunately, these tremendous finds failed to provide the same enjoyment to a tired and skittish mother who was deathly afraid of reptiles, spiders, and creepy insects. I was never quite sure if I wanted to open their gifts of love or not!

However, there was one summer activity I always enjoyed with my sons. Hidden in the branches of the old box elder tree in the backyard, the boys' tree fort provided hours of welcome play and enjoyment. Sometimes we played board games. Other times we just enjoyed a cool glass of lemonade and cookies. Whatever the occasion, I was thankful to be considered "one of the guys" and always considered it a privilege when they invited me to their "house."

As Christians, God also desires for us to share our homes with others. In Romans 12:13, God's Word tells us to share what we have with the needs of the saints and be "given to hospitality." With so many blessings God has provided at our disposal, our homes become the perfect place to minister to the hearts of the lonely and hurting within the body of Christ. However, not only are we to reach out to fellow homeschoolers and other Christians, God also exhorts us to go one step further: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers" (Hebrews 13:2a). Inviting those who don't know Christ as Savior to eat at your table provides the loving and welcoming environment that opens hearts to the message of salvation.

Is your summer already scheduled to the limit and too busy to open your home to others? If so, maybe you can rearrange your activities and practice some old-fashioned hospitality. Whether it's an informal get-together with church friends, a summer backyard Bible club, or a large community outreach block party, share the blessings God has given you and watch as others experience the joy of being loved. "Use hospitality one to another without grudging" (1 Peter 4:9).

Father, thank You for the delightful days of summer and the opportunities to minister to people with Your love. Show me how to bless others and use our home for Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(5 comments)

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ROSEMARIE H 06/17/2010 04:25:04

I just wanted to let you know how much I look forward to my daily devotional. I find them so inspiring and uplifting, and yet like todays message, bringing me back down to just how important summer time is: the relaxing quiet moments spent with children as they do what they are supposed to be doing. Just being children and exploring God's world. Thank you!

SORETHA P 06/17/2011 06:35:29

Soretha P from SA Just AMEN!

WENDY H 06/17/2011 07:15:40

We have 4 boys and I can totally attest to their little surprises!! The critters that are currently keeping our boys occupied are 2 cats, 2 kittens, 1 toad, 1 box turtle and 1 gerbil. There's never a dull moment around here!! Also, as far as hospitality...we have been blessed many times over as we open our door to others. My husband is a pastor to a hispanic church and it has been so good for our people to come and enjoy a dinner together. Thank you for these devotionals...they are always such a blessing!!

KATHY S 06/18/2012 06:41:19

I kinda lucked out here. My son isn\'t into the reptiles, and insects (THANK YOU JESUS!!) So no special gifts of love that would make me scream. God bless the Author and other Moms who are the receivers of such gifts. But, like the tree house invite, I so enjoy when my son just wants to play a game of Uno Attack with me, or comes out of his \"Game room\" to watch a movie or show with me, or even just to say \"How are you doing Mom?\". It\'s the little moments of joy that we will never forget, and hopefully, they never will either. Thanks AOP for another great devotional to get my day started!

TABITHA J 06/18/2012 09:03:19

When my niece was about 6, she captured lightening bugs in a jar and called them her pets.

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