This week Pastor Jon begins a new series in which we begin to think of some of the qualities that we want to exhibit as a church. One of the first that comes to mind is “be hospitable.” The apostle Peter calls us to this generous kind of living and writes, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:9)
Of course, when I read these words I automatically think of many people who have graciously opened their homes to Janet and myself through the years. One couple , whom I’ve written about before, especially stands out for us.
When I was dating Janet she was at the University of Guelph and I was at Western University in London. Long distance relationships are difficult but our challenges were lessened by Janet’s landlords, Les and Lois Young. I will never forget bumping into Lois at a neighbouring church for the first time. She introduced herself and said, “You know Janet will be boarding with us this coming year and you are invited to come and visit any time. We have a spare room for you to use.”
I said, “You better not make that offer, I just might be there every weekend.” And without hesitation she gave me a huge smile and said, ‘That would be just fine.”
And I can tell you – she wasn’t saying that just to be polite. Lois and Les were good to their word. Not only did they treat Janet like one of their own daughters, they opened their home to me so unselfishly for the next three years that their generosity still astounds me.
Of course, I shouldn’t be astounded. The Young’s were simply demonstrating the truth of 1 Peter 4:9. These words are not a command that we have to follow but words that we are able to follow. We are able to open our lives and our homes to those in need around us because Jesus has done that very thing for us. While we were separate from Christ, foreigners to the covenants of the promise (Ephesians 2:12), he welcomed us into his presence and fed us from his banqueting table (Song of Songs 2:4). He anointed our head (Psalm 23:5) and called us his own (John 1:12). And he did it all without grumbling. Isaiah 53:7 tells us that “he was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth …” It is out of his rich provision for us that we are able to practice hospitality.
Do you know God’s lavish generosity? Have you experienced the depth of his unending love toward you? Are you aware of the abundant blessings that God has showered on you in Christ? If so, you are able to give your time, your kindness, your care, and your resources without fear of running out or lacking for your own welfare.
May God find each of us willing to give hospitality even as he has given to us.