Let Them Be Hospitable

Let Them Be Hospitable

Moving to a new place presents a lot of opportunities. God finds ways to shape us into the people that He wants us to be. He constantly shapes us to be more and more Christlike in our words and deeds if we only let Him. One area of my Christian walk that I have struggled with is hospitality, primarily receiving hospitable actions. I try my hardest to be generous to a fault (my wife will verify), and I will do just about anything for anyone. Still, I am more hesitant to accept the hospitality of others. I believe I can do everything on my own, and I don’t need help from anyone. This can create tensions in our spiritual lives. I will call this phenomenon the reciprocity of hospitality; when we constantly give but don’t accept the giving of others, we lose sight of the bigger picture. I believe this stems from the Western concept of “pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps”, the idea of being so self-sufficient that we don’t accept help from anyone. Whether we know it or not, we create a stigma for anyone that needs help, and they are afraid to ask. Lately, I have been reminded of this verse:

1 Peter 4:8–9 

 “Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another.” 

I now realize more fully that I have robbed others of this opportunity to show me their hospitality. Moving to a new community has allowed me to work on this aspect of my life. I feel like I am being smacked in the face with it; I am forced to accept hospitality in so many forms. Because Amanda and I don’t have all of our stuff, we have relied on the church here in Richland more than we would have had to otherwise. And it has been such a blessing! You all have poured into our lives food, furniture, and even your homes! We have been truly blessed. It has caused me to stop and realize how fantastic hospitality truly is and how we should be reciprocal. I love those words from 1 Peter 4:9 that we should practice our hospitality to one another ungrudgingly; this is that idea of mutual hospitality. One another means amongst each other; it is a defining characteristic of the early church. They shared all in common with each other (Acts 2:44), giving and receiving continually in the community.  

When Jesus sends out the twelve apostles, he includes one particularly relevant instruction. I love how it is rendered in the New Living Translation- (Matthew 10:10) “Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.” Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality… there is a caveat of working to attain this amenity, but if someone is willing to give us something unbegrudgingly out of the goodness of their heart, let them give it freely.

As I live in a new community, I will soften my own heart and allow others to show hospitality to my family and me. I will recognize it is not a sign of weakness but a sign of love. And the next time someone tries to show you hospitality, let them.  

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