Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 4:8-11 (NIV)
Do you love to have friends and family visiting you on a regular basis? Or are you like me, and read these verses while guiltily thinking, "Yes, I really should invite people to share meals with us more often. But...how am I going to keep my house tidy/control my kids whilte there are visitors/cook food people will like/complete the sentence with your usual worry."
While I do quite enjoy entertaining small numbers of guests every now and then, I find the process rather tiring and a little stressful if it's been one of those weeks where my home looks like a tornado has hit. But as I read these verses, I see that hospitality is not an option. It is something we are told to show to each other "without grumbling". Verse 8 suggests that showing hospitality to others is a way of serving them and showing them love; and it is a good way to show God's love to both believers and non-believers alike.
The passage goes on to say that we should share our God-given gifts with others and do it in such a way that "in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ". What challenging words! And while some of you may feel that showing hospitality is not really your gift, the fact that we have all been called to do this would suggest that we can all show hospitality in one way or another.
For some people, showing hospitality will come very easily, and perhaps their struggle will be not to take pride in this wonderful gift God has given to them. For those who are shy or introverted, it may mean that they have to make a concerted effort to invite people around to visit; perhaps those falling into this category could start out small by inviting visitors over for morning or afternoon tea.
Is your house or apartment very small? You can still show hospitality, but maybe you can only do so to small numbers of guests at a time. Don't think your cooking skills are up to feeding others? I am sure that any newcomers at church, people who are feeling lonely or anyone you might care to invite would appreciate your efforts no matter what. We may have lots of different fears about why we can't entertain guests, but I am confident that with God's help, these can all be overcome!
So is there anyone to whom you could show some hospitality? Or are you a "hostess with the mostest" and able to share your tips and advice with us? Whatever your situation, pray to God, seeking His strength to help you show His love to others.