Mary and I first met Noah and Marian Kreider and their family when I took Dr. Ryrie’s place teaching the Bible for a Word of Life Conference in Jamaica. I was just beginning my doctoral program at Dallas Seminary, and Dr. Ryrie suddenly had to have emergency surgery. The folks on the trip, along with Jamaican brothers and sisters who joined us to study Proverbs, could not have been more gracious to a young upstart taking the place of a seasoned famous scholar. The treasure Mary and I received from those few days in the Caribbean was a lifelong friendship with the Kreiders, successful dairy and chicken farmers, and restaurateurs from Manheim, PA.
For years when my dad was alive, Mary and I and our kids made an annual summer trip up to Word of Life. On our return to Texas, Noah and Marian always had the lights on and a room for Mary, me, and for our four. Their hospitality, generosity, and grace powerfully proved to our kids that Jesus made us family.
The Kreiders lived out the same obedience and hospitality that the Apostle Paul recognized in Philemon two thousand years earlier.
“Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. And there is one more thing: Prepare a guest room for me, because I’m hoping that because of your prayers I might be restored to you.“
The Apostle Paul was confident that Philemon would greet his former slave as an honored brother—no longer a slave in his household but a much-loved member of God’s family. He was also confident the Lord would answer prayer about the outcome of his first Roman trial. Paul was looking forward to a personal visit in Philemon’s home. May the Spirit help us to pray like these first century believers and also open the rooms of our home to those who visit our churches to minister the Word.
LORD, Noah and Marian are now enjoying your hospitality in heaven. Thanks that their children continue to carry on the unselfish hospitality and gracious giving to your work that Paul encouraged and that their parents modeled.
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