HOSPITALITY IS THE HOSPITAL FOR THE SOUL
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praisedthrough Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:7-11
Every time I think about hospitality in my life I always look to my father. My dad was the prime example of why I have become the person that I am today who is willing to think about others first before I think about myself. I never knew a person that thought more about others than himself. And the funny thing is that he never knew I was watching. See hospitality is not something that we just do from time to time... Hospitality is a lifestyle. When one lives out the art of hospitality, it is because they honestly have a desire to help others come and experience the love of God in a deeper way. They are not looking for any reward or accolades. They are living their lives to make others better and they would do anything possible to make sure that others are taken care of first. As a child, I would watch my dad do this time and time again to every person that he encountered. He did not care who the person was, because his goal in life was to show the love of God to every person that he met because he had been given a love that transformed his heart. When we are living not to please man but to please God, out mentality changes and our hospitality becomes a hospital for our souls.
You may be wondering what do I actually mean by that phrase "Hospitality is the hospital for the soul." Simply, the closer that we grow to God, the more we have a desire to simply share that love with others. We find ourselves stepping out of our sinful state into one that reaps such joy. We find it helping us to heal the scars that the past may have caused and helping to find peace through sharing the love of God in the same way that it was shared with us. For some of us we need to find ways to find joy again and I promise you that one of the greatest ways I have found is to practice hospitality. God has given all of us so many different gifts
and abilities and so don't think that everyone's hospitality will look the same. For some, you may be able to cook and provide a meal. For others, you may have a talent to knit or build or see a need that only you can fix. As an attitude, hospitality will drive you to see people in a brand new way and if we step into faith to guide us, we will find new ways that our talents can share God's joy to the world. I know a student who wanted to share more hope with the world. She was not the best speaker but she had something to say so what did she do... she wrote a book that was published that was able to be her voice to encourage and help other girls her age deal with the stress of being a Christian teenager in a broken world. I bought one of the first copies and had her sign it because I wanted her to know that she was being the love of God to others that were in need of hearing that message from God.
So what about you? Have you ever experienced hospitality in such a way that you could not believe it? Have you ever given out of your love instead of out of your need to feel important? Have you ever given because you never wanted anything in return except for the other person that received this gift would find love, peace and joy? I ask all of these questions because it must become a lifestyle or attitude that we live in each and every day. Hospitality can not be planned out or scheduled, but will live out of us because of the willingness we have to step out in humility and follow Christ. Through our humility we are sharing the same gift of grace that God gave to us through the gift of Christ. And if that hospitality is forced it will be seen. If we are looking to receive something in return, we have not practiced true hospitality. Instead of finding peace in our soul, we have opened a door for satan to come in and speak lies to our heart. Remember Peter is writing this letter of encouragement to the church under the time of Nero's persecution. Who in their right mind would be willing to show hospitality during a time where it could get you killed? See, that is the point. Hospitality is not scheduled right? It is a lifestyle that continues to share the message of God's love in action no matter the situation. Peter is speaking to encourage them during the hardest times of their life to continue to live out love, grace and mercy. He begins to reference that the end is near, but in those times, believers should continue to pray with a clear mind, love each other dearly for the little time that may remain, and to serve others through hospitality. Peter is revealing to them the power of joy and peace that will be found through their humility to give without any thought of receiving anything in return.
So, I say all of this today so that you may begin to pray for God to open a door in your life for hospitality. I pray that you will look at today as another opportunity to see the world and people as God's creation that are in need of connection with their Creator once again. I hope that you will find the same joy that I find each day because of the ability that I had to live in the presence of my father and experience true hospitality as a lifestyle. I know that I do not do it right a lot of the time, but when in humility I seek to serve others more than myself, there is a peace and joy that helps me to overcome the days when I feel as though I cannot go on. When I earnestly practice hospitality, I find that it begins to shift my mind to see opportunities that I truly missed when I was only looking for my own interest to be met. God
will renew your soul and give us the strength that we need through the power of hospitality. But please don't make it be a checklist item that once again causes us to seek the accolade. NO... Hospitality should be born out of the grace that we have received and grow into a reflex like attitude to where we don't even have to question if we do something. We begin thinking how much more can I do in order that others will feel welcome at the table of God. Please know that it will probably take our entire life to finally get this attitude of hospitality right, but that does not mean that we just decide not to try at all. The soul of the world needs a Hospital of Hospitality in order for it to return to the beautiful creation that God intended for it to be. It begins with one person that humbly passes on this gift so that it will multiply to a point that it will eventually encompass the world. This has already happened once through the life of Jesus, and I believe it can happen again if we are willing to share HIS story to a world in desperate need of healing. The Hospital is open... who needs to experience the true joy of GOD for the first time or the first time in a long time.