“Show hospitality to one another…” 1 Peter 4:9
I used to think that hospitality was for certain, uniquely gifted women who “got into that sort of thing.” You know the type: she has three lasagnas in the freezer, a roast and potatoes in the crockpot, cookies in the oven and coffee just brewed. Her table is always graced with fresh-cut hydrangeas from her garden—even in the dead of winter (or so it seems). She’s never happier than when a few strays show up unannounced for dinner, except of course, when a family of seven comes to stay for the week.
Me, well I panic when an extra guest shows up for dinner. My hydrangeas barely bloom in spring, and I think the chicken in my freezer has a frosty coat. Oh, and the coffee? I drank that already.
Don’t get me wrong—I love all things domestic, but I never thought I had the kind of capacity for regular hospitality as those “gifted” women.
Sadly, I didn’t see the importance of hospitality either. I considered my home to be merely one of many possible places to get together with people. So when my husband Steve and I would plan to hang out with church members, neighbors, family and friends, I was quick to suggest we take a couple to Starbucks or host a group at the park. Less work for me, I thought, to my shame.
You can see why I had to laugh when our senior pastor’s wife, Lesley called last fall and asked me to lead a women’s meeting on hospitality. I think maybe God was laughing too.
So I sat down with a stack of Bible dictionaries from my husband’s library and a few books on hospitality (I had to buy and borrow as I didn’t have any!) and made some surprising discoveries.
For example, did you know that hospitality is everywhere in Scripture? It’s a major theme in the Old Testament, notable in our Savior’s life and teaching, and a regular practice of the early church. Hospitality even figures prominently in the Bible’s description of heaven.
In fact, the number of times the New Testament authors exhorted believers to practice hospitality (Rom. 12:13, 1 Tim 5:10, Heb. 13:2, 1 Pet. 4:9, and so on) led one author to observe that to them, “hospitality was evidently rated highly.”
Sadly, I had not rated hospitality as highly as I should, but by God’s grace, my perspective has changed. I’m not so quick to suggest Starbucks anymore.
Today, we want to start a new series on hospitality, and our hope is that all of us would be encouraged to rate hospitality as highly as God does.