Being invited into an Afghan home is an experience you will not forget. As you step into their home, greetings of “Salaam” are exchanged and piping hot tea and fresh naan bread are immediately served. Conversation and laughter fill the room, and time together is uninterrupted and cherished. Hospitality is a very important aspect of Afghan culture. Guests are treated with the highest honor and are welcomed with kindness and generosity. There is much we can learn from our Afghan friends when it comes to hospitality, as our American culture is very different. I have been touched greatly by the hospitality that my Afghan friends have shown to me. I have been impacted by their desire to welcome every guest that graces their doorstep. However, I cannot help but think about how my dear Afghan friends only know a hospitality that is of this world and not one of Christ.
Christian hospitality is only different because of Christ alone. Jesus tells us in John 13:5 that “by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” As the body of Christ loves one another, the world notices and that love points them to Christ. Knowing what it is like to be transformed by the gospel and brought into the body of Christ should compel us to show this same Christian hospitality to our Afghan friends. These dear people have shown us hospitality in many tangible and impactful ways, but now we have the opportunity to demonstrate hospitality to them by showing them the love of Christ through how we love one another and how we love them. Galatians 5:14 says, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Throughout Scripture, this command is repeated and emphasized of its importance. Mark 12:31 says that loving your neighbor is the second greatest command. 1 John 4:11 tells us that “if God so loved us we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” As we seek to live out this command to love our neighbors with a love that points them to Christ, God will work in us and through us to reveal His life-changing love to the world.
Opportunity to Love Our Neighbors Here and Now
As the Lord, in His kindness, has brought several Afghan families to Lynchburg, I have been in awe of how He is working and how He is working through His people. The body of Christ has worked to serve and to love these dear families together. Many people have given time to help with transportation, grocery shopping, teaching ESL, and setting up medical appointments. The tasks are many, but as we work together as a team, Lord-willing, our neighbors will see Christ’s love through our actions and our words. If you are not already involved, I would encourage you to consider how you can join the Church in loving our neighbors in tangible ways. There is something for everyone to help with and you do not need the right skill set or the right qualifications to help. Everyone can play a part in serving our Afghan neighbors. Whether that is through watching the children, teaching an ESL lesson, or providing job application assistance, every role is important. Giving your time, serving together as a team, and seeking to be the hands and feet of Christ, are ways that we can demonstrate Christian hospitality to our new friends. As we allow the Lord to use us in the way He wants to use us, amazing things begin to happen because each part of the body of Christ is working together to show the world the love of Christ. There is much work to be done, so join us in the work the God is already doing among our neighbors here, so that, Lord-willing, many Afghans will come to know a hospitality that is far greater than what this world can offer, a hospitality centered on Jesus Christ alone.
Elizabeth joined our team in 2019. She loves traveling, being outside, spending time with the people she loves, and drinking coffee.