In his final night with the disciplines, Jesus taught some of his most important lessons. Though they’d been by his side for several years, he wanted to make sure these final messages of the importance of community, fellowship, and service hit home.
Jesus hosted a Passover dinner for the disciples. He didn’t have a place of his own or time to prepare the meal, though, so he asked some of the men to pitch in and help. The dinner wasn’t extravagant, but it was sufficient. Most importantly, they were together for an evening of quality time.
He started the evening by washing each man’s feet. This was a servant’s job, but there were no servants here in this borrowed room. The men sat with dirty feet from their travels, so Jesus decided to serve. He washed their feet, showing that we’re all called to serve, even right where we are.
On this last night, Jesus brought his disciples close and spent an evening together in conversation. Maybe they shared stories, laughed a little, cried a little, and enjoyed a meal with each other. They learned that this life isn’t meant to be lived alone, but in community, loving and serving each other.
The Christian Life is Doing Life Together
As I look over my own spiritual journey, the seasons of most growth and connection to God have been when I was most connected to others. As an introvert, I often struggle to make friends and invite people into my life. Yet, the times when I make the effort to share my life with others are when I feel the most whole.
So, how are you doing life together with others? How are you showing hospitality to others? How are you developing relationships with other believers and sharing in fellowship with them? How are you serving others and giving of yourself?
If you find yourself feeling disconnected from community or distant from God, maybe it’s time to focus on the spiritual disciplines of hospitality, fellowship, or service.
God didn’t intend for you to walk through this life alone. He meant for you to share your life with others.
Spiritual Discipline of Hospitality
Hospitality doesn’t mean you’re great at creating Pinterest-worthy dinners or are gifted at entertaining. It’s simply showing the love of Jesus to others, loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Despite all the technology that keeps us ‘connected’, we are more disconnected from each other than ever. This life can be isolating and lonely.
The Christian life isn’t to be lived alone. We’re called to share our lives with others. We’re meant to do life together, sharing meals, having conversations, opening our homes, and being welcoming to others.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.Acts 2:46-47 (NIV)
Don’t let a messy house or lack of cooking skills hold you back! You don’t have to be Martha Stuart to host dinner. Order take-out or ask your guests to bring dishes for a pot-luck dinner.
How to Practice Hospitality
- Offer to host your small group for study or dinner.
- Invite friends over for a pot-luck dinner, asking each person to bring one dish to share.
- Get to know your neighbors. Make a point of inviting your neighbors over and get to know them better.
- Move your grill out to the front yard and invite neighbors over for hot dogs and hamburgers.
- Encourage your kids to invite their neighborhood friends to play at your house. Keep snacks and drinks stocked for the kids and make sure they know how to help themselves.
- Use conversation-starter cards to get to know each other better and encourage deeper conversations.
Spiritual Discipline of Service
Service is being the hands and feet of Jesus, serving others with your time, talents, and treasures. More than giving money to a good cause, it’s actually stepping into the work and spending time helping.
We are each called to serve others, whether we’re blessed with wealth, power, and influence, or have nothing. God asks us to serve others where we are, in everything we do.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.1 Peter 4:8-10 (NIV)
How to Practice Service
- Help an elderly neighbor with chores or home improvement. Mow the yard or put out the trash each week, offer to help with some weekend fix-it projects, offer to pick up groceries while you’re out.
- Volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity and help build houses.
- Help serve meals at a local soup kitchen.
- Spend a Saturday helping sort goods at a food pantry or clothing donation center.
- Join a mission trip with your church.
Spiritual Discipline of Fellowship
While we’re called to go out and serve, we’re also called to connect and go deep with other believers. Cultivating Christian community is critical to stay connected to the church and to help support each other in this spiritual journey.
We are not meant to live this life alone. The Christian life is one of being with one another. Fellowship is developing those relationships so you can learn from each other, support each other, serve each other, and celebrate with each other. It’s finding other Christians to ‘do life’ with.
God made each of us to be unique and have different gifts and strengths. One person cannot do it all on their own.
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.1 Corinthians 12:25-26 (The Message)
Cultivate Christian fellowship in your life. Join a Bible study or small group. Meet regularly with a prayer partner. Join a mission team and serve together at home or abroad. Look for other ways to get involved at your church.
How to Practice Fellowship
- Join a small group through your church. Get to know other believers in a smaller, more intimate setting than a church service.
- Look for opportunities to serve at your church and develop friendships with others serving in the same ministry.
- Find a prayer partner and meet regularly to pray together.
- Seek out someone further along the spiritual journey who can provide some guidance and direction. This may be a teacher, pastor, spiritual director, or friend who models faith. Ask if they would be willing to disciple you. Meet regularly for spiritual growth and guidance, and to provide accountability in this journey.
How Will You Share Your Life With Others?
How are you doing life together with other believers? How will you step into the spiritual disciplines of sharing your life with others through hospitality, serving, and fellowship?
Do you feel disconnected from the church? Do you find yourself trying to do life on your own? Plug in somewhere. Find a group, a study, or a service opportunity at your church to join.
Do you shy away from inviting others into your home? Do you feel ill-equipped at hosting? Take a step and issue an invitation. Open your heart and your home to others, even in its imperfect state.
How are you being the hands and feet of Jesus? Who can you help in your neighborhood, your community, your church? Incorporate service into your life. Make it a family affair and get the kids involved, too.
Learn more about Spiritual Disciplines:
Interested in learning more about spiritual disciplines? Want to find another one that may be a better fit for you right now? Click here for more spiritual disciplines and how to use them to grow your faith. Also, below are some books I highly recommend on the spiritual disciplines. (These are affiliate links.)