Be hospitable

It’s Valentine’s Day – the day to celebrate love – but I thought I’d take a slightly different perspective today. The Apostle Peter exhorts his readers with the reminder that

“the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayer. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”  1 Peter 4:7-9

I find this juxtaposition fascinating.  We are encouraged to live in the will of God, and because the end is near, we should have fervent love for one another. The first expression of that fervent love is hospitality.

If you’re like me, you love having people over. Many women have the gift of hospitality. But what exactly is hospitality? Is it having a house and meal to rival Martha Stewart? Is it baking homemade desserts and preparing gourmet meals? As we are busily cleaning or homes and cooking food, or preparing for overnight guests, is it in a spirit of joy, or grumbling?  I usually start out joyful and end up wondering why I invited so many people, or how I’m going to finish all the preparations in time!

Hospitality is defined as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”  How do we measure up against this definition? We usually invite our close friends and relatives to dine with us, or to stay with us. Do we extend that hospitality to visitors, or strangers?

There is a debate brewing in our country right now about how “open” and “hospitable” we should be as a country. Should we welcome everyone, or limit our welcome to those we think we can trust? It is an important debate and there are no easy answers. But there is no debate for us as individuals. We are to be welcoming, not just to our friends and family, but also to visitors and strangers.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
 Hebrews 13:2


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