My wife and I love to host college students at our home. At least once a month, we try to invite students over for a meal, games, or movie night. Really, my wife deserves most of the credit. She will spend all week in preparation for the few short hours we get to spend with the students because she wants them to feel welcome and loved. She has the gift of hospitality. In today’s passage, Peter reminds us that even if you don’t have the spiritual gift of hospitality, you still need to strive to be hospitable toward one another.
The mentioning of judgment in verses 5–6 reminded Peter that the end is near (v. 7). Believers are to love one another deeply, or earnestly (v. 8). In other words, with every fiber of their being, like an athlete who uses every muscle to win, we are to love one another. Peter’s mind immediately then goes to hospitality. In this verse, hospitality literally means “lover of strangers” (v. 9).
This love of strangers was extremely important in the first century because travelers such as letter carriers, pastors, teachers, and missionaries relied heavily on the hospitality of strangers. When people came to faith, families split, or believers needed somewhere safe to stay, they relied on one another. Hotels were few, and followers of Jesus were often scrutinized and persecuted for their faith.
Peter says to use either serving gifts (v. 10) or speaking gifts (v. 11) to further love one another. Regardless of the gift or the action, the result ought to be the same: that God may be praised and glorified (v. 11).
>> Consider how you can be hospitable to someone today, this week, or maybe this month. Who could you welcome into your home? Who could you gift with comfort or help? Pray for the right person and the right opportunity.
Whether we have much or little, show us how we can extend hospitality to others. Make our home a place of peace and encouragement for both believers and unbelievers.