“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.” (Proverbs 15:13)
Have you ever been around someone who shines the countenance of Christ? That special person who glows with love and beams with happiness? When you’re around them, you can’t help but feel loved and important and perfectly happy, because somehow these people emanate a radiance that flows from deep inside and spreads outward to everyone they encounter.
We cherish the time spent in their presence because we feel closer to our Savior’s love. It reminds me of when the resurrected Lord walked on the road to Emmaus with two of His disciples. Though they did not recognize Him as they walked, their eyes were opened when He left “and they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)
These dear, sweet, Christlike people cause my heart to burn within me as they abundantly share their closeness to Christ. These people have learned the gracious art of hospitality not just because of what they do but more because of who they are. And though we tend to put them on a pedestal, they would each attest that they are nothing more than a conduit through which the Lord’s love and light can flow.
I desire so strongly to become one of these people, to be one of His glory-bearers in this world, but I feel so weak. I often wonder if I will ever be able to grow into this graciousness or share His loving light in the way I yearn.
But the more I study, the more I understand that hospitality is a learned art and a gift from God that we each can seek. The Bible contains the blueprints for developing a Christlike countenance through heartfelt discipleship, fervent prayer, and simple faith.
Do you recall the shepherd boy David, who was chosen by Samuel to be king? It wasn’t because of his outward appearance, it was because of his heart. After rejecting seven of the sons of Jesse, Samuel asked that David might be brought before him.
“And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” (1 Samuel 16:12)
“…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Truly, it’s the heart that determines the strength of His light in our countenances. Our Redeemer is our perfect example: “…His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” (Revelation 1:16)
And the more closely we align ourselves with His way of life and follow Him, the more we will naturally shine His light and love.
To further develop the art of hospitality, we can come before the Lord in humble supplication, and He will grant us the heart we desire.
We can pray as the psalmist, “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” (Psalms 4:6)
And He will respond: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
In the end what we need most is a simple faith – faith that we can receive and become a channel through which our Savior’s love can emanate.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able…to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Insight and Inspiration
“Thou hast put gladness in my heart” (Psalms 4:7)
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good” (Luke 6:45)
Invitation for Today
Make a list of those special people you know who radiate the love of Christ in their countenance. Is there something you could do to thank them for blessing your life?
Consider how you can develop the art of hospitality. Could you pray for this gift, have faith, and align your daily actions to the example of the Savior so that you can be rooted and grounded in love?