5 Reasons to Keep On Being Hospitable

I used to think that hospitality was a gift that only certain people had. You know the type: the woman with muffins in the oven, two pies in the fridge, three lasagnas in the freezer, coffee always fresh, and crisp flowers on the table. I have been blessed by these types of people over and over again, and I am truly thankful for those who seemingly put little effort into welcoming others into their home. But for me, it’s hard not to fall into a frenzy when there’s an unannounced guest for dinner, because, well, I was just planning on eating popcorn for dinner, and I might have drank all the coffee.

During busy seasons of life (as evidenced by the clothes littering the bedroom and the crumbs dusting the counters), the last thing I want to do is have people into our home. But as my small group studied 1 Peter this past semester, Peter reminded me of the importance of hospitality – for even those who might not have an apparent “gift”.

He says in 1 Peter 4:9: Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Peter assumes hospitality will be hard for us, because he’s commanding us to show it without grumbling. Why would hospitality make us want to grumble? Hospitality means love to strangers, not just those you know well, and a stranger is probably not just someone you naturally want to show hospitality to. It can tend to be expensive, and it takes up our own resources that we intended to be used for our own family. It can be inconvenient, because it impacts our schedule to some extent. It can impact our comfort – what if this guest leaves their cup on my brand new coffee table and ruins it with a ring?! What if we have nothing to talk about and long, uncomfortable silences fill the air?

Peter was writing to a church and a people who were enduring intense suffering and persecution. Even in these circumstances – in spite of them – he commands the church to practice hospitality. Here are five reasons to keep on being hospitable:

  1. We are merely stewards. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace,” (1 Peter 4:10).  Everything that we think belongs to us doesn’t actually belong to us – we’ve received it from God. We own nothing, but we are to make sure that what we have is used for the best purposes.
  2. Hospitality is evidence of our love for one another. Right before verse 9, Peter says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” Hospitality is a form of loving others. Where sincere Christian love lives, there you’ll find hospitality.
  3. We’re human, and therefore, we’re not perfect. Maybe your house isn’t the cleanest, or the largest, or maybe you’re not the wealthiest or the most organized, but maybe that means you won’t intimidate anyone. Maybe it’s good for someone to walk into your open home and get a sense of the life that happens there, even if it’s not Pinterest-worthy. Maybe it’s good to have to depend on God’s “varied grace” and Christ’s work, rather than our own.
  4. We live on free hospitality every day. We have received Christ’s saving hospitality, paid for with his own blood, and we are to extend this hospitality to others. Romans 15:7: “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Be good stewards of this grace. It’s the mark of a Christian to welcome in those who would otherwise not be sought after or treasured.
  5. Hospitality ultimately glorifies God. All of this, all that we do in serving in “the strength that God supplies,” is so that “in everything, God may be glorified in Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 4:11).

So keep on being hospitable, in all kinds of ways. People will be blessed by being in your modest home, or your tiny apartment, or in your house that has room to lodge ten more people. Let us love one another, and show hospitality without grumbling. And may God be glorified by our efforts.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11

 

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