By Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Homes today are 1,000 square feet larger than the average home in 1973. Many houses today are not “homes,” but more like showplaces, as people strive to get that perfect “Magnolia” look or have just the right beach or mountain decorations. And yet, fewer and fewer people are inviting others into their homes. Think about that–we have bigger houses with more “stuff” and yet we have fewer guests over. We don’t eat with one another in our homes–but rather we name a restaurant to meet at.

I don’t know if it is because we have become so worldly that we are ashamed of those nicks and scratches on our interior paint, or maybe we don’t feel comfortable with people seeing how we really live. But the result is still the same: many Christians go weeks (or more realistically, months) without having anyone in their home. As a result, we don’t really know most of our church family very well.

How can you REALLY get to know someone in a loud and busy restaurant? How can you truly open up to people if you don’t know them?

Rare is the week we don’t have people–often LOTS of people–in our home. Melinda and I gave up worrying about having a spotless home, shiny floors, and a well manicured lawn years ago (we have 4 children and a dog). That’s not to say we don’t try to keep a clean house and nice yard. We do. But the reality is we live in our home, and life happens. We actually cook in our kitchen. We have a crazy travel schedule with my job. We often drop what we are doing to assist someone who may need a meal, visit, or helping hand. And so when friends and family come over they know they are not going to get a Martha Stewart or Joanna Gaines showplace.

So why would we have people over if our life is already crazy? Maybe it is to laugh together. Or to empathize and sympathize with one another. Or to have serious talks about spiritual matters. Or to play cards and sing. Or maybe it is to just sit around a cup of coffee and just love each other.

Acts 2:46 says, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.” I love this verse because it paints a beautiful picture. These people had something in common and they wanted to be together.

This week (like many weeks) we have had two opportunities to have late night talks with two special groups of people. In one we were exploring life, discipling, talking about the future, and discussing God’s role in what we do. The other was talking about death and the struggles one faces when a family member passes away. It’s during talks like these that our relationships truly grow and deepen. It’s during late night discussions like these or sitting around a table that our children grow and see what real Christianity looks like. It’s during those conversations that you get just a little sample of what heaven will be like when you are surrounded by your Christian family.

So why don’t we do it more often? Why aren’t we in each others homes weekly? Why aren’t we eating with one another more often? If you are currently thinking you are too busy, then Satan has lied to you and told you worldly activities are more important than Christian relationships. If you think you don’t have the energy then please take a minute and evaluate what things are taking all of your energy. Or is it that you are afraid of letting your guard down and letting people see the real you with all your warts and scars? Friends, it’s during those times gathered around your table or sprawled out on the couch that you discover other people have warts and scars too, and you come to realize they love you anyway. It’s during those times that you realize there are people on this planet who are not perfect, but they love you and honestly want to help you get to heaven–and will be there for you in the good times and bad. Stop thinking about having someone over and just do it. You’ll be glad you did!