Good morning! This is Topher of Washington Church of Christ. This Message Minute is brought to you from campus of the wonderful Harding University Lectureships in Searcy, Arkansas.
The word "friendship" has changed recently hasn't it? In the past it meant to open your home to someone in need; to share in meaningful conversation your thoughts, joys, and concerns; to share mutual affection between people.
Today friendship has been reduced to an association created between two people by tapping a button on someone's profile on a social media app. You may never engage in conversation but this giant influence in our society calls your association "friendship."
Previously, Ashley and I, now in our mid 30's, knew hardly any students on the Harding University Campus. As we wrap up participating in the 92nd annual lectureship in this beautiful sanctuary in northern Arkansas, we would like to share a message with a few students who have offered us real friendship.
To the freshmen who joined us on the tennis court for a zany game of mixed doubles, we thank you. To the seniors who kindly let us join your court in a game of "hit the tennis ball as hard as you want", we thank you. To the freshman who let us join you for a 20 minute dinner sharing mutual hopes, dreams, and aspirations, we thank you. To the senior who took a break from your hard library study to show interest in our kids, our mission trips, and our faith in God, we thank you. To the student from the eastern European country of Albania who shared about your faith while showing interest in our own, we thank you. To the college freshman who spent 10 minutes last night caring about all that has happened in our lives since we were in Honduras with you 3 years ago, we thank you.
Hebrews 13:2 contains a command that goes beyond the modern social media definition of friendship when it says, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers."
Harding University, you have gone above and beyond today's shallow associations to show wonderful Harding hospitality to these strangers on your campus this week. We are grateful to call you friends.
To all of you listening. Today, don't forget to show hospitality to strangers. You'll be glad you did.