Thursday March 8, 2007

1 Peter 4:9 – Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

My husband attended the monthly meeting of the men of our church earlier this week.  The topic of the evening’s teaching was hospitality.  My husband and I have enjoyed opening our home to others over the years.  In the past we have had folks over for meals on Sunday afternoons.  We enjoyed a lengthy season of having several folks in for a light supper and games following Sunday evening services.  We’ve offered a Sunday meal and a comfy reclining chair for a nap for a pastor between Sunday morning and evening services.  We’ve hosted church groups of various types and sizes.  For several years we were one of the hosting families for the home church we were part of.

Lately, however, we have been in a season where we have not been practicing hospitality as we should, nor as we would like.  As Copper and I have been discussing how we were going to go about getting back on track with practicing hospitality, I began to review the ways we practiced hospitality in the past.  What did we do?  How did we do it?  For the next few days, I’d like to “think out loud” with you on this topic of hospitality.  First of all, though, let’s take a look at what hospitality is, and consider why we should even bother.

The why is pretty easy – God tells us that we are to practice hospitality!!!  He even tells us to whom we should show it!  While it is easy to open up our homes and share a meal with close friends, it’s harder to invite folks you don’t know as well, and it’s harder still to think about inviting complete strangers.  But what does God’s word say?  In Romans 12:13, He says we are to “contribute to the needs of the saints and to seek to show hospitality.”  Okay, that’s pretty clear, but strangers?  Certainly we are not expected to invite complete strangers. Hebrews 13:1-2, “Let brotherly love continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Oh, dear, it does say we are to show hospitality to strangers, doesn’t it.

But what, exactly, is hospitality?  Webster’s 1828 (my preferred dictionary), defines hospitality as, “The act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality.  Hospitality is having folks over, entertaining them, feeding them; but we are not to do this with the hope or expectation of receiving a reciprocal invitation.  Nor are we to expect anything by way of “reward”, or thanks.  We are to practice hospitality simply because we are Christians.

Okay, now we know why we are supposed to practice hospitality, and we know to whom we should be extending hospitality.  In the next couple of days, or so, we’ll talk about the real question – How?  How do I practice hospitality?  Can I afford to be hospitable?  I’m a busy homeschooling mom, or working woman, or (fill in your own excuse) , do I have time to practice hospitality? I’m hoping to give you lots of good ideas and food for thought. Until then…..

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27




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