1 Peter 4:9 – Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (NIV)
Midge is one of my smallest dogs. She is a silver dapple, long-haired dachshund, and she is very special. Midge loves everybody. No matter who comes to our door, she graciously welcomes them with her gently wagging tail and quiet demeanour. If our guests enjoy dogs, she will sit beside them for hours and receive their affection with pleasure. Yet, if a guest does not have any affinity for pets, she calmly and peaceably settles in her bed and stays out of the way. If dogs could have the gift of hospitality, Midge would certainly be a prime example.
In today's world, hospitality is fast becoming a memory. People are busy. E-mail and Facebook are the easiest and fastest way to communicate. Unlike times past, most families do not entertain other families for a meal or even for coffee and dessert. Cocooning — holing up in one's home or office — is a modern term for the way many of us live. Schedules are busy, and it is increasingly difficult for people to come together for a face-to-face visit or meal. Hospitality has become a major chore and something to be avoided. Guests arriving unexpectedly at the door are not normally greeted with arms wide open, but grudgingly, as most of us hope they aren't planning to stay too long … After all, we have things to do.
Yet, God has commanded through his servant Peter that we are to offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Hospitality draws people together in relationship. It opens up the door to friendship, comfort, wisdom, and hope. People need people, and in our ever-transient mode, new people are coming and going within our neighbourhoods on a regular basis. What a terrific opportunity to reach out and be hospitable, to touch others with the love of God simply by making them feel welcome!
Prayer: Lord God and gracious heavenly Father, You always make us feel welcome in Your presence. Help us as Your beloved children to do likewise unto others. Grant us Your spirit of hospitality, that we may reach out to make others feel welcome and loved within our midst, within our homes, within our lives. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.