WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: Leaving the Edges  1 Peter 4:8-9

This series is like one long message!  You may have walked away last week thinking, “Yeah, I know, hospitality’s really good, Ryan.  That’s a great idea.  BUT….”  We have a whole list of “buts,” don’t we?  We have a whole list of reasons why it’s really, really hard.  To that, I want to say, “You’re right!  It is.”  I want to spend the next 35 minutes or so affirming you’re right!  BUT….

I was a sophomore at college at Colorado State University and was walking across the courtyard.  I saw a man who had a long beard, sort of unkempt, had a smock on (it looked homemade), had pants that looked like they were homemade, and he was holding a cardboard sign that said: “What do you think about Jesus?”  At that point in time, I was a follower of Jesus, I was serving with Young Life, and I thought, “Wow! That’s really cool that he’s sitting in the middle of our courtyard just striking up conversations with people.”  I went up and met him.  His name was Jerry.  We got into a conversation about Jesus.  At the end of our conversation, I said to him, “Hey, Jerry, if you ever need a place to take a shower, here’s our phone number, give us a call.”  He was experiencing homelessness.  I found out that homeless people take you up on offers that other people sometimes won’t.  Two days later my phone rang.  It was Jerry and he asked, “Does the offer still stand to come and take a shower?”  I was living with three other guys and asked if they were cool with it and they said yeah, they were.  So Jerry came over and took a shower.  As he was leaving, we said, “Jerry, if you know any friends who need a place to take a shower, our house is open, call us anytime.”  He did…..and so did his friends.  We said, “Hey, Jerry, if you ever need a place to throw your tent, you can throw it in our backyard.”  So….he did!  It was really cold one evening, so we poked our heads out the back door and said, “Hey, Jerry, (and to his friends) if it’s ever too cold for you guys and you’d like to come and sleep inside, come on in.”  And they did!  For two-and-a-half years of my college life, I lived with four to five homeless guys who slept on our couches, on shelves in our garage.  I can tell you this, it wasn’t always easy.  Eventually we had to ask them to leave.

Whether it’s homeless people who live with you, or an in-law or an out-law, or you have somebody over for dinner, or you’re sharing a piece of your heart with somebody in a deep conversation, neighboring or hospitality is never easy.  It demands something of us.  It demands that we open maybe our home or our table or a part of our life to the “other.”  Which is why the Scriptures deal with this subject so honestly.  I love it, because here’s what Peter says in 1 Peter 4.  You can also flip to Leviticus 19; we’re going to be going back and forth between both this morning.  1 Peter 4:8-9.  Peter is sort of pastoring a group of churches right after the resurrection of Jesus:  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  {It’s not about being a part of a community that’s perfect, because hey, this just in, we aren’t, we never will be, and no church you go to will be.  If you find the perfect church, don’t join it, you’ll ruin it.  It’s not whether or not we’re perfect, it’s about whether or not we love.  Love is the thing that covers our brokenness and our imperfections.}  Offer hospitality {In the Greek, it’s that word that we talked about last week…philoxenos.  Two words put together:  love of the stranger.}  to one another without grumbling.

Don’t you just love that it’s not some pie-in-the-sky, hospitality’s going to be easy, it’s going to be awesome, just Google Martha Stewart and you’re going to be good?  Peter says, “I know it’s going to be hard.”  I know some of you are offering hospitality because—in the first century—it’s required of you.  In an honor-shame-based culture, if you didn’t offer hospitality to someone, you were looked down on in the community.  There’s people offering hospitality to others, but they’re doing so and under their breath they’re going, “I can’t believe they’re going to stay this long.”  Are you kidding me?  They brought just chips and salsa to dinner??  Who are these people?  Their kids are climbing all over our new furniture!    Not that we’d do any of this!  He says offer it without grumbling.

When we think of the word “hospitality,” we oftentimes think of food.  We think of having people over into our home.  It’s certainly that, but if you were to go back into the audience of Peter, they would have something very different or expanded in their minds.  Certainly hospitality is about offering food.  It’s that, but in the first century, here’s what it meant.  We actually get English words from this word “hospitable.”  The etymology of the word hotel, hostel, hospital, and hospice are all connected to this one word, “hospitality.”

In a Greco-Roman world that was changing rapidly, the Romans brought a number of inventions; one of them was the road system.  People, for the very first time, were traveling large and extended distances.  They were doing so without a hotel or an Airbnb on the other end to sleep at.  Followers of Jesus were known—in the early Greco-Roman world—for opening their homes to people to come and to stay in.  They picked up on this need and met it with hospitality.  Listen to the way John Chrysostom, the great preacher in the fourth century, said it to his church in a sermon:  “Make for yourselves a guest chamber in your own house.  Set up a bed there, a table and a candlestick, have a room to which Christ may come and dwell.  This building is set apart for him.”  Can you imagine that as a practice at the end of this message?  Set up a room in your room, have it ready just in case somebody, anybody, a stranger, knocks on your day and needs a place to stay that night.  This was the ethos of the early church.

In 362, Emperor Julian of the Roman Empire, who was not a follower of Jesus, looks to the other Hellenistic (Greek) leaders of the day and he looks at the Christians offering hospitality and he goes, you guys, we’ve got to be more like this.  We’ve got to do what they’re doing.  He says, in a letter he was writing to one of his leaders:  “Why then do we not observe how the kindness of Christians to strangers, their care for the burial of their dead, and the sobriety of their lifestyle has done to advance their cause?  Each of these things, I think, ought really to be practiced by us.”  If you want to know how did the early church expand, well, they opened their homes.  They didn’t have a robust, amazing plan for reaching the world that was on a white board.  They just had this one methodology:  deeply care about the people around you and open your home to them.  If somebody needs a place to stay, give him a place to stay.  If somebody needs food, give him food.

In 370, Basil—who became known as Basil the Great—the bishop of Caesarea, established the very first hospital.  Did you know that part of our offering, as followers of Jesus, of hospitality was developing the first hospital?  To care for the lepers in the community, people no one else wanted to touch.  Basil said we’re followers of Christ, we’re going to open ourselves to that.  The monasteries became sort of hospitals.  They were sort of outposts on the edges, where people were cared for—physically and spiritually.  They weren’t for retreat, they were for impact.

So when Peter says offer hospitality to one another without grumbling, he’s certainly thinking about a meal, but he’s thinking about more than that.  He’s thinking about a lifestyle.  You could see how that lifestyle might mess with your plan just a little bit, can’t you? I tell you that to give you sort of a lesson in hospitality and what it meant, but also to open our minds up to start dreaming again.  I want to be part of a community that dreams God, how would you have us do this, in this day, in this time?  Don’t turn your home into a hospital, unless you’re a registered doctor or nurse or medical professional, for this using the best medical equipment, engineered by the best professionals, and including good engineering evaluation for equipment that needs special coating!  But what might it look like to offer radical hospitality in the place that you live?

Offer it without grumbling, Peter said, and we grumble.  Here’s why we grumble.  Because hospitality’s hard!  It’s inconvenient, it’s expensive, and it’s invasive.  This is sort of our cultural moment.  This is the moment that we live in.  Hospitality is inconvenient, isn’t it?  It takes time.  It takes time to open your life, to open your home to people around you.  We are maxed out on time, aren’t we?  We have work.  We have family.  We have sports.  We have hobbies.  We have other commitments, and we tend to run through life at a frantic pace!  There’s an overload of options of things to do with our time now, isn’t there?  You could fill it in a number of different ways.  And we do!  We do and then we wonder where did the time go?

Not only that, but hospitality is inconvenient because we are just a little bit obsessed with entertainment, aren’t we?  Just a moment of honesty.  I told you last week that I don’t stick the dismount on this every time.  There have been times—you don’t need to nod, you don’t need to agree, you don’t need to elbow anybody—when I have resisted offering hospitality because there was a game I wanted to watch, or there was a movie I wanted to watch, or there was a show I wanted to catch up on.  So in a world where we can get it anytime we wanted, we start to close ourselves off just a little bit, don’t we?

It’s not cheap to have people over.  If you offer somebody a meal, you open your home.  You want it to be at least slightly presentable, but most of us in this room—if the statistics hold true….   The average American carries $6000 in credit card debt, and the average American household has $10,000 in debt.  So we go well, that’s something we can cut.

Not only that, I think the biggest obstacle that we face, the biggest grumbling that we go oh, I don’t now if I want to do that….is that hospitality is invasive.  You just have to flip on HGTV—you know, the show about all the houses that look better than yours?  What are the words they use to describe the house?  This house is an oasis!  This house is a private retreat.  This house….look at the privacy fences.  This house is great!  You don’t have to talk to anyone around you!  We might as well just build a moat around our house, with a drawbridge.  That’s the way we often view it, isn’t it?  We long, we crave community but we base our lives around isolation.  That’s just a method for protection.

Here me on this, if you’re like, Paulson, I felt that last week, thanks.  This is not intended to say we’re wrong, this is intended to ask some questions: Are there some ways the Spirit might invite us to open our hands a little bit, that Jesus might use us more for our joy and the glory of His name in the place that He has divinely planted us?  This is not about guilt.  This is about opening ourselves up to God.  And it’s about pointing out some things that we all wrestle with.  In some way, there’s something up here that we go, oh no, no, no, that’s me.

What does it look like to be people that offer hospitality?  Who in the world has time for this?  Flip over to Leviticus 19.  As you’re flipping there, I was putting a book in my bookshelf this week.  I have books that I love right in back of my desk so I can grab them quickly.  That part of my bookshelf is maxed out.  So what did I do?  I tried my best to open a little tiny hole to force another book in there.  I think that’s what most of us do with hospitality.  Our lives are full.  Our lives are busy.  Running from one place to another, but Jesus says to be hospitable so gonna force that book in there and make it work!

It’s interesting that when the teacher of the law asked Jesus, what must I do to inherit eternal life? the man quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5—Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.—and then he quotes from Leviticus 19:18:  Love your neighbor as yourself.   But before that, look what it says in Leviticus 19:9-10 — When you reap the harvest of your land, {Most people were farmers in this day.  Most people lived on a plot of land that their family had owned for generations and they ate the food that they produced.} do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.  Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen.  Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.  I am the Lord your God.  Skip down to verse 18 — Love you neighbor as yourself.  How do you do that?  Well, he gives two commands:  you leave the edges of the field.  And when you harvest it, resist the urge to go back and pick up all the little pieces of grain, or whatever you’re growing, that you have dropped.  Leave them.  Why?  So that you can be a good neighbor.  So that you can love your neighbor as yourself.  Love your neighbor who’s a foreigner.  Love your neighbor who’s poor.  Love your neighbor who’s a friend.

So you get the picture….you have this sort of square plot of land.  They don’t say exactly how much margin is suppose to be left, they only say leave some.  Maybe it’s proportionate to how big a field you have.  The bigger the field, the bigger the edge.  {Look up at me for a second.}  Here’s what the author of Leviticus knows:  It’s impossible to love your neighbor if you don’t have any margin in your life.  If you don’t have any margin around the proverbial field of your life, you cannot be a neighbor.  Leave the edges!  Intentional margin is the thing that creates capacity for vibrant hospitality.

Intentional margin.  I chose that word intentionally!  Because it doesn’t happen by accident.  Our default is to fill up the pages of our life to the max, isn’t it?  Did you ever have an English teacher that was ruthless about margin around the edge of the paper?  They would measure it and if it was a little bit more or a little bit less, they were cracking down on you.  How much easier is it to read a piece of paper that has a little bit of margin around it?  It’s a lot easier.  It’s a lot easier to live a life that has a little bit of margin around it too.  But here’s my problem.  I found myself reading Leviticus 19 going, “Well, yeah, but….what if no foreigner comes to take from the edges?”  If they haven’t come, then that food is wasted, and my commitment to productivity, to maximizing my life, to making the most of my time demands that I push it to the edges!  Right?  I sensed God saying, “Look up at me, Paulson.  What if the best parts of your life happen in the margins?”  What if the most impact you have happens in the margins? What if the most joy that you find takes place in the margins?  What if those moments where you go, oh man, God, it’s good to be alive, happens in the white space around your life?  If you were to step back, I think you would affirm, “That’s true.”  If you do not prioritize margin in your life, you will not have any.  If you don’t choose to create margin, you won’t have any.  Someone once said if you don’t design your life, somebody else will.  They’ll tell you what to do with the edges of your field.  Or you will start reaping out to the very corners and the edges.

Friends, you might want to write this down.  I think this message, if we could summarize it in one succinct phrase, it could be:  God is inviting us to live by design, not by default.  The nation of Israel, for them to leave the edges of their fields for strangers, for foreigners, for people they didn’t care for much, to say come and take a little bit from me was counter-cultural.  If you start creating margin in your time, in your finances, in the space that you have and the openness to people around you, it will feel different.  Because our lives are full.  So the question is how might we do this?  What heart postures are necessary to say God, we want to be people of margin?  We want to do that.  What does it take though?  All of us would say we want to do it, but so many of us live this kind of a life, don’t we?

Flip back over to 1 Peter 4, because Peter’s going to continue this idea of offer hospitality without grumbling, and we said we do that by creating intentional margin for people to come and to receive from us, but what needs to happen in our life to get there?  Here’s what he says (1 Peter 4:10) — Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  A steward is not an owner.  A steward is somebody who a wealthy person entrusts with typically a plot of land, back in their day.  They’re the manager.  They get to use the master’s stuff, but it’s not theirs.  What Peter says to his church, to the church he’s writing to, is if you’re going to be somebody who offers hospitality without grumbling choose to see yourself as an entrusted steward, not an entitled owner.

Let’s just get it out there.  Repeat after me:  My time is not only my time.  My money is not only my money.  My house is not only my house.  If we are apprentices of Jesus, our time, our money, our space is something that we are stewards of, not owners.  As part of that, there’s a few things I just want to encourage you.  Could we, just as a community of faith, just say we want to categorically reject the badge of busyness?  That in some way busy makes us important.  Like you ask somebody how they’re doing and they’re like “busy” and you’re like wow, you must be a big deal.  Can we, just as a community, say we’re going to choose not to use busy as a metric for how important we are or how productive we are?  Some of the most productive people in the world are not the busiest people.  They’re actually the most intentional people you know.  Let me say it this way:  You are NOT a slave to your calendar.  You are a steward of your time.  I get it, you work 9-5, but that does leave some room in there to say God, how do you want me to use this time?  How do you want me to use this space?  What do you want me to do with it?  I love the way John Ortberg said it:  “The most serious sign of hurry sickness is a diminished capacity to love.  Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible.  Love always takes time and that’s the one thing hurried people don’t have.”

How do you create margin?  One two-letter word.  NO!  Can I encourage you to practice saying it this week and resist the voice in the back of your head that says well, that’s unspiritual.  Jesus maxed out his time.  Jesus was this beautiful combination of certainly making a massive impact in three years of public ministry.  We are here because of Him.  And yet…..Dallas Willard once was asked, “What’s the one word you would use to describe Jesus?”  His answer?  Unhurried.  He was never in a hurry.  The question we’ve got to wrestle with is do we live at a pace that allows us to be available to those closest to us?  Willard said this later on:  “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”  If you do that, it’s going to be counter-cultural, but you’ll start to create margin.  You’ll start to create space.

I’m going to tell this story again because it was just so impactful for me.   Aaron and I were in Africa last Advent season.  We were spending time at an African tea, which the men typically host, almost every evening or a few evenings a week.  They get together and they talk about life and they talk about sports and they talk about politics.  They have this tea kettle that sits in the middle of the gathering.  It’s a wood fire that heats the water for the tea.  One of the Americans with us said, “Hey, Timoteo, if you put some oxygen on that flame, it will get hotter and the tea will boil quicker.”  Like, let’s give him a microwave.  Here’s what he did, it was beautiful.  He looked at us and said, “This is the point of the tea.”  It’s not about the tea.  He said, “You Americans have watches, but we Africans have time.”

I started to think to myself, “I wonder if we’d have more tea if we had less TVs.”  I wonder if we would have more time if we had fewer ways to distract ourselves and to be busy.  What if this week, as a practice, you started to just slow your life down intentionally?  Here’s a few ways you could do this.  You could decide you’re only going to drive the speed limit this week.  What if you decided to choose the slow lane of the grocery store?  I’ve brought up a few of these before, but these are practices you can do to actually slow your life down to create margin.  You will start to see the people around you.  What if you took one meal a day and you ate it slower than you normally eat it, and really focused on the chewing and the tasting?  Have you ever gotten done with a meal and thought, “I know that tasted good but I don’t remember what it tasted like?”  Most of our meals, right?

What if you decided, like Jesus, to spend just a little bit of time in solitude?  In quiet?  Because you do know this, right, your field, the field of your life, is only good for hospitality if it’s producing something.  If there’s some food that comes from it.  If it’s healthy.  If it’s whole.  Solitude is the place we gain freedom from the forces of the society that wants to shape us.  Almost everybody that writes about hospitality says that the demands of hospitality can only be met by persons sustained by a strong life of prayer and times of solitude.  It’s wholeness that creates the capacity for hospitality.  Maybe you start getting to your appointments just a little bit early.  I know you’d have to sit in the waiting room.  I get it!  You know who else is in the waiting room?  People!  People that God might have an invitation for you in.

What if we did the same with our money?  What if we did the same with our space?  I just want to speak to this a little bit and then we’ll move on.  Will you look up at me for a second?  We have in our day, in our culture, and in our time, a view of our house as our castle, as a place to retreat.  What if, as followers of Jesus, we started to rewire that thinking to say, “My house, my space is the platform God’s given me for kingdom impact.”  Not just the place where I get away.  You need to do that.  You need to rest.  You need to recharge, we just talked about that.  But what if we just made this fundamental shift, God, you’ve given me this space—whatever it is, an apartment, a condo—in order to make a difference for your kingdom.  You may own your house, but God owns your all.  So we’re people that intentionally create margin by going hey, we’re stewards of this stuff, we’re not owners.   Of our time, of our space, and of our money.  It’s ALL God’s.

Here’s what he says next (1 Peter 4:10-11) — Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.   Quick timeout. Peter is saying that this hospitality that I’m calling you to offer without grumbling doesn’t look the same for everyone.  It doesn’t.  Some people are wired to go I want to have a TON of people over.  I want to have a big party.  I want it to be lavish.  I want it to be over the top and I want to do it every week.  Some of you go man, I would love to get together with a trusted friend and share life.  I’d love to just have one person over, one couple over, one family over.  I don’t want it over the top, I just want one person.  Here’s the deal, if you are an introvert and were thinking, oh great, freaking sermon series on hospitality; this is my worse nightmare!  Jesus’s invitation to you is it doesn’t have to look like anything other than what it looks like for you.  Do it the way you do it.

We’ve got to understand that God has gifted you intentionally—all of us intentionally—and called us uniquely.  Some of you young moms….the goal is just survival.  Some of you people who are in school….the papers looming….I get it.  Some of you are retired and maybe the energy isn’t what it used to be.  Whatever season you are in, Jesus sees that and it’s not some standard that you have to reach up to.  He goes okay, what do you have that you could uniquely offer?  For some people it’s speaking….that’s how you can offer hospitality….with just a word.  For some people it’s serving.  Whatever it is, it’s God’s grace that He’s given you that you then get to extend to someone else.  Don’t miss the image of this field, because every field has boundaries, doesn’t it?  Every field has limits.  You can’t give away somebody else’s, and—catch this—you’re not called to give away all of yours.  The calling of hospitality is not give until you die!  The calling of hospitality is to say back to God, God, we’re stewards of the things you’ve given us; based on who we are, we want to extend those back to you to use for the sake of your kingdom so others may know who you are and may bow in worship.

There’s this famous story of Martin Luther, the great reformer.  When he got married to his wife, Katerina, someone knocked on their door on their wedding night!  He opened it up, invited them in and gave them a place to stay!  Fellas, I’m not suggesting that.  If you’re engaged, don’t do that.  Don’t even tell people where you’re saying.  Some people take this over the top and it kills them eventually.  That’s not what Jesus has for you.  Who are you?  What do you have in your hand?  And then live into it.

There’s a story that’s told in the three synoptic gospels, in Matthew, Mark and Luke.  In Mark 5:30-34, we see Mark retell the story.  There’s this powerful man.  He’s sort of one of the main guys at the synagogue.  He comes up to Jesus and says, “My daughter is sick.”  Jesus, being who He is, says, well, let’s go.  Let’s go immediately.  You can almost imagine this guy (named Jairus) putting his arm around Jesus and saying, “Come on, Jesus.”  They’re walking through the crowd and all of a sudden Jesus stops.  He says, “Who touched me?”  I can imagine if I’m Jairus, I’m going, “We’ve got places to go, we’ve got people to see, we’ve got a daughter who’s sick.  Jesus, come on!  Who touched you?  Everybody’s touching you!  Who cares?!  My daughter’s life is on the line.”  Right?  There’s this woman who’s been bleeding for twelve years.  Jesus looks right at her and asks again, “Who touched me?”  She says, “I did.”  The Scriptures say that Jesus SEES her, looks at her with compassion.  Not only does he heal her, but he loves her and calls her “daughter,” a woman who hasn’t been touched in years because of her condition.  He just starts to invite her in.

I think it’s a beautiful picture of what it looks like to live a life of margin, because it means that we embrace interruptions as divine appointments, not as distracting inconveniences. Look up at me for one last time today.  The most important thing you do tomorrow may not be on your calendar.  You might not be able to find it in your iPhone calendar.  The most important thing God’s inviting you to do may not be the thing that you set out to do.

It was really cool….we threw this big party.  A lot of you were part of putting that on.  We as a church said we just wanted to love our community and love our community well.  After SouthFest, we got this email from one of our partners, Love INC.  Love INC is a great organization and here’s the email they sent to Molly, one of our staff members.  Kathryn said, “Thank you so much for such a great opportunity.  It was a fantastic event and a beautiful evening.  I was able to talk with so many folks from South and the community.  We got five to six folks that were interested in volunteering, which we really, deeply appreciate.  I also got reconnected with Rebecca Bell, who’s the director of the preschool, and will be following up with her about ways that we can support some of the preschool families you serve.  One woman I spoke to came from Parker.  She saw the Facebook posting that morning.  Well done, to you all, and to all South Fellowship staff and volunteers.  I know what a big undertaking it is.  We’re so grateful to be a part of it and to be building up our partnership as we serve the community with Christ’s love.”  That was one of those things we didn’t expect to come out of SouthFest, but we’re just going, “God, thank you for the way that these divine appointments come into places and spaces that we don’t expect.”

One last story — Last week we shared that Tim Klibbe, one of the members of our church, strong contributor, tragically passed away on Labor Day from a motorcycle accident.  Someone came up to me after service last Sunday and said, “I just want to tell you a story about Tim.”  My brother was stranded along the side of the road on C-470.  A car pulled up behind him and just stopped.  Someone got out and said hey, do you need a ride to the gas station?  This person took him to the gas station and waited there 45 minutes while they figured out all the towing and all the things that were going on with the car.  He just waited there and talked to him.  They didn’t know each other.  This person came up to me after last week’s service and said, “The person that stopped for my brother was Tim Klibbe.”  It was a total inconvenience, wasn’t expected, not in his calendar.  He said my brother is always going to remember that some stranger—he said he was from South Fellowship Church—stopped.  What might it look like for us to do the same?  To just hit pause long enough to say God, we’re stewards, we’re not owners.  It’s not our time, it’s not our money, it’s not our house, it’s not our energy….it’s yours.  You’ve only given me a certain amount of it, but how do you want me to use it?  We want to create space and we want to create margin so we can.  So that when those “inconveniences” come, we might see them as divine appointments. Rather than throwing us off track that God is calling us to be on track with Him.

This week, what’s it going to look like to live it out?  I’ve decided to give us the same set of practices every Sunday during this series.  You have a block map on the back of your bulletin.  Anybody have one more of those boxes filled in this week?  Maybe you download the NextDoor app and start to get plugged in.  Maybe you have someone over for dinner.  Allison hosted a bagel breakfast for their neighborhood on Saturday.  Maybe you prayer walk your neighborhood.  What does it look like for you?  I know it’s inconvenient.  As long as hospitality’s been offered, people have grumbled about it.  But you stop grumbling when you see the way it can impact the people around you.  {Ryan hands out Solid Grounds coffee cards to people for their office.}

Would you stand with me as we close our time today?  Jesus, we do.  We surrender our stuff, our time, our energy, our thoughts.  It’s yours.  We’re stewards, we are not owners, Jesus.  Remind us of that this week.  Father, I pray that when interruptions come into our life that we might see them as appointments, not interruptions.  Jesus, that we might open our hearts and our lives to others.  As hard as that may be, would you show us what it might look like for us, in the season of life that we’re in and the time that we have and the resources that you’ve given us?  What does it look like to love our neighbor as ourselves?  Teach us.  We’re your disciples, apprentices, we want to follow after you.  Amen.