“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.” 1 Peter 4:8-10
Before vacation we were talking about hospitality—what it is (a love of strangers) and who is to show it (all Christians). Today we pick up where we left off and consider who we are to show hospitality to.
First and foremost, we are to show hospitality to “one another.” The members of our local church should top our guest list.
You see, hospitality “builds up unity and helps meet practical needs” of those in our church (Dict. of Later NT). It strengthens bonds of friendship. It supplies food and shelter in time of need.
In the early church hospitality “was an expression of respect and recognition, a physical symbol of the destruction of those status boundaries irrelevant in the community” of believers (New Dict. of Biblical Theology).
What an amazing statement hospitality makes. It says to fellow church members: “Your background or ethnicity, your education or accomplishments, hobbies or interests—none of that matters. What matters is that we are both undeserving recipients of the grace of God. That is what unites us in friendship.”
It’s almost impossible to maintain evil prejudices or hold on to arrogant, superior attitudes or persist in sinful judgments and still show hospitality. By the act of inviting others to our home, giving of our resources, serving them, taking an interest in their lives, we show the world that “love covers a multitude of sins.”
And hospitality says something to our children as well. It speaks of our affectionate love for the people of God: “the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Ps. 16:3). Hospitality, as one author put it, “is a way of bringing the household into the church and the church into the household” (Dict. of Later NT)
If we are wise parents, we will make hospitality a priority. In this way we can impart to our children a love for the people of God, teach them to follow godly examples, and encourage a passion for service in God’s kingdom.
What a powerful word hospitality speaks to our church, our children, and the world!