1 Peter 4:8-10 (NLT)
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
This week’s spiritual gift is hospitality. The definition of hospitality warmly welcome people, even strangers, into one’s home or church as a means of serving those in need of food or lodging (Greek Word: philoxenos - love of strangers; 'philos'=love; 'xenos'=stranger).
Consider the following:
Similar to other spiritual gifts, a person receives the gift from God to bless others and build up the body of Christ. Likewise, whether we have this gift or not, we are to practice hospitality as Romans 12:13 (NIV) indicates, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” To exercise hospitality is to extend loving care and acceptance to another. To some, this exercise is almost automatic. Over time it becomes the natural response of some people. Know that being hospitable is about intentionally creating environments where people feel welcome and experience love, acceptance, and the presence of God.
According to the Bible, here are five tips to exercise this gift. Have a good attitude. The writer of our scripture, Peter, reminds us that we must use hospitality without grudging. To accomplish this, remember the reason you are serving, and you are serving because you love the Lord. Second, remember the stranger. As noted earlier, the root for hospitality means, “a love for strangers” and Hebrews 13:1-3 (NLT) states, “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Remember to invite the sinners as Luke 5:27-29 (NLT) reads, “Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.” This scripture illustrates that Jesus never forgot the sinners, and encourages us to invite our unbelieving friends to fellowship with us. Next, provide for missionaries, as it is written in Luke 10:5-7 (NLT), “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.” The scripture demonstrates the need to support missionaries because their work can be exhausting. If you are able and feel safe, offer your home at no cost, provide a meal, or take them out to eat. This form of hospitality will ensure our fellow laborers do not become weary in well-doings. Lastly, serve the poor and needy as it states in Luke 14:12-14 (NLT), “Then he turned to his host. ‘When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,’ he said, ‘don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.’” This scripture instructs us to serve the poor and needy without expecting anything in return.
Today, I encourage each of us to be hospitable in our actions and serve with a cheerful heart. If you know that this is your spiritual gift, be an example to others of how to be hospitable.