Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9
On Sundays while we are traveling, we’ll take the opportunity to visit an unfamiliar church in an unfamiliar town. We arrive in time for the morning worship service. Will there be a warm welcome, invitations to enjoy a meal, and information given about interesting sights in the area? Or will we be greeted but basically ignored?
God calls his people to be hospitable. In ancient times travelers depended on local residents to provide food and lodging. Abraham, for example, pleaded with his visitors to stay, wash up, and have something to eat (see Genesis 18:1-8).
The people of Israel as a nation were strangers in Egypt and later in Assyria and Babylon. In Egypt they were at first welcomed with open arms, but later they were treated very cruelly. These experiences should have made them sensitive to the needs of others.
Jesus accepted hospitality by people like Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-39), but he also showed hospitality by feeding hungry crowds and healing people (Mark 5-8). As a disciple of Jesus, Peter saw this kindness in action, so he called on all Christians to offer hospitality cheerfully. If we love one another as Christ has loved us, we will practice hospitality.
Whether our visit to a church has been negative or positive, it should move us to go out of our way to welcome and enfold the strangers we meet.
Open our eyes, Lord, to see you in the people around us. For when we show your love to anyone in need, we do it to you. In your name, Amen.
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