We’ve had some sickness this past week. Head colds. The blahs. Last weekend, after a particularly whiny and complaint-filled morning, my dh decided to make “complaining” the subject of a “here and now” home Bible study. Using the appendix in the back of his Bible, he quickly looked up several scriptures and read them to us…and this one from 1 Peter really spurred an interesting conversation!
1 Peter 4:9,”Be hospitable without complaint”…
Sure, at first read-through, taking this verse at face value simply verifies what we all know: Christians should practice hospitality. But the “without complaint” part deserves equal consideration!
Practicing Hospitality With Strangers
My Unger’s Bible Dictionary makes the interesting point that Biblical hospitality focuses largely on reaching out to the strangers among us. Read the following in light of 1 Peter 4:9, “Practice hospitality without complaint.”
Luke 14:12-14, “And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'”
Job 31:32, “”The alien has not lodged outside, for I have opened my doors to the traveler.”
“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” Matthew 25:35-36
Hebrew 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
I don’t know about you, but it somewhat daunts me, considering the times we live in, this idea of welcoming strangers in my home. However, the flip side is that kind acts by strangers are not soon forgotten. I’ll forever remember the time our small town librarian introduced me to another homeschooling mom browsing in the library. Five minutes of chatting later, I found myself promptly invited over for grilled cheese and Campbell’s soup–that same day!
My brother shared recently what he calls a “God Appointment”. He stopped to help a family stranded by the roadside. The car’s owner said at the outset, “This is God’s car and it’s in His hands”…to which my brother replied, “That’s great if you access God’s car through His Son Jesus Christ!”
This family ended up being a homeschooling family, the father is a prison chaplain, and they spent two or three days hanging out with my brother and his wife and kids (who also homeschool), having a great time while the car was in the repair shop. And my brother just about didn’t stop to help them. Ultimately, he felt convicted that if it had been his family, he’d have wanted someone to help them. Well, strangers they may have been, but it was family…brothers and sisters in Christ!
Hospitality is more than just opening your home up to others. It’s opening up your heart. We should do this everywhere. In the line at Wal-mart. At the park. On vacation. At church. We may do it with trepidation but we’ve got to do it without pride, without prejudice, without expectations, without complaint.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself…” Pretty straight-forward stuff.
Part 2 on Monday… Practicing Hospitality Within Your Family
Our family pow-wow about “practicing hospitality without complaining” brought about some Divine changes!