‘Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.’ 1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)
When we bought our new home several years ago, I was excited at the prospect of entertaining our friends, family, and neighbors. We actually had enough room, and plenty of parking to boot. This was something that was lacking at our previous residence, and so when we did entertain, or hold a Bible study, it was always with the effort to keep the gathering small.
But I so enjoy it! I love to have people over. I like the feeling of warmth that permeates the atmosphere. I love to see people enjoying themselves in our home. While I am not the most creative decorator, I still think I have managed to develop a place that is comfortable, safe, and inviting. I love to get the thank you’s at the end of the encounter, only in that I want people to be happy about being here. To know they wish to return again, well, it just pleases me to no end.
But grumbling sometimes can come along with hospitality. It’s not right, but it happens. We try to be ready, always, if someone needs a place to stay, or if folks just stop in for an unannounced visit. But sometimes we are not ready, and that’s when I grumble, thankfully to myself. However, I have learned to make the best of the situation, and to realize that hospitality is not always in the surroundings themselves. Yes, I want it clean and neat and with no doubt that it is well cared for. But that’s not the purpose of the gathering.
The gift of hospitality is what motivates us to want to ‘do’ for others. It may be a meeting, or a study, or a meal. It might just be lending a shoulder to cry on, or a place to be honest and real with one another. If we show Jesus to those who are in our homes, then we are extending that gift of hospitality that touches hearts, and for those who are lost, their souls.
Hospitality is about caring and sharing. I have found that worrying about the small things, like the crooked picture, or the paper the dog just chewed up, or a dish that’s chipped, are not what it’s all about. It’s about the love of Christ, living in His people, and being given freely to others, whether they be Christians or not.
Peter was absolutely correct to say the word ‘grumbling’. Because if that is how we choose to be while providing hospitality, then we are not providing anything of worth.
So remember, Jesus is Our Hope. And because of this, we have the responsibility to share hospitality whenever the need or the occasion appears. We touch lives when we share our resources, our love, and our homes. We learn to enjoy even more the company of good friends, as well as the company of strangers. It’s a gift, and it comes from God. Let’s choose to use it, and use it often!
‘Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.’ Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)