Scripture: 1 Peter 4:9, ‘Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.’
Observations: The word translated ‘hospitality’ comes from two words that mean ‘brotherly love’ and ‘strangers,’ or ‘foreigners.’ Basically it means to show love to someone you don’t know. We don’t show hospitality to family members or friends because we already have a responsibility to love them, rather we show hospitality to people we don’t know. And in a growing and vibrant church that may mean a lot of people. The first church grew by 3000 people in one day, that’s a lot of strangers. If you meet a new person n church, they are the ones you are to show hospitality to. And according to Peter we’re to show hospitality gladly, or ‘without grumbling.’ This word refers to complaining or muttering about something. Rather than seeing hospitality as an imposition, we are to see it as an opportunity to show Christ-like love. Hospitality should be a joy. However, it’s also important to remember that hospitality is a gift. The Spirit enables some people to excel in this area of hospitality. For others hospitality won’t be easy because of their personality type or circumstances. But the point is that we are all to be hospitable. This is especially true of leaders. Hospitality is one of the marks on a good elder (1 Tim 3:2; Tit 1:8).
Application: Are you a hospitable person? And I don’t mean in theory, I mean in practise. How often do you talk to people in church that you don’t know very well? How often do you invite strangers into your home? Do you see hospitality as an imposition or an opportunity to show Christ’s love to others? I want to challenge you to invite someone new from our church over to your place in the next few weeks. See it as an opportunity to possibly make a new friend, and maybe even to impact someone else’s life with the love of Christ.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, while I was a stranger You invited me into Your family. In the same way may I invite strangers into my life and into my home, that I might encourage them with the love of Jesus. Lord, may I not grumble about serving others in this way, but may I reach out to others with the love and joy that I have received through the Spirit. Lord, help me to be a more hospitable person, for Your glory and honour. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.