Be Hospitable - 1 Peter 4:7-11
May 09, 2019 | By Cory
Be Hospitable1 Peter 4:7-11
Few things are better than having people over to your house to enjoy one another's company. Strangely, few things are more important, according to Scripture. The theme of hospitality runs from one cover of the Bible to the other. It is so important that it is a qualification of elders (1 Tim 3:1-3; Titus 1:7-8).
Abraham exemplifies what it means to be a good host (Gen 18). Because the Israelites were strangers in a strange land (Egypt), they are commanded to show kindness to strangers in their land (Ex 22:21; Lev 25:23). God is portrayed as a gracious host at the end of time (Is 25:6; Matt 8:11). And we are told that by entertaining strangers we sometimes entertain angels (Heb 13:1-2). I'm not exactly sure what that means, but the emphasis shows its importance. Hospitality should probably even be considered a spiritual discipline alongside things like prayer, fasting, and meditating on Scripture. Clearly, hospitality is an central theme of Scripture.
Peter commands that we do the same and that we do so without complaining. The word he uses, which is translated "hospitality," is a compound word made up of the words "philo" (brotherly affection) and "xenia" (stranger). So, hospitality is literally the process of turning strangers into brothers. Peter says it's important for the church to do this because "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pet 4:8). It is difficult to confront someone you love that is doing wrong, even though you know you have to. Hospitality, because of the love it produces, moves us from judging another to holding them accountable in love. And that is a holy thing. It's the "righteous judgment" that John talks about (John 4:24).
Hospitality isn't about getting out the "good dishes" so much as it is about loving strangers - and turning them into brothers and sisters.