Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9
Today it's not much of a problem to find a place to spend the night when you travel. (Unless it's really late at night, and you have a van full of really tired kids and you are trying to find a place to stay around Indianapolis--and it never crossed your mind that it's the weekend of the Indianapolis 500--and there is no place to stay except a rundown place across from the Larry Bird Inn in Terre Haute and your wife is really upset because she wanted to stop three hours earlier and ... well, the rest of the story is not worth telling). But if you were traveling in late A.D. 64/early 65, when Peter wrote this letter, lodging was hard to come by. This was especially true for persecuted Christians driven from their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. So, in our passage today, Peter gives some very practical instruction.
Peter exhorts followers of Christ to open their homes to fellow believers in need. Offer them warmth by the fire, food to eat, and a place to sleep. The hosts were not to expect payment and were to allow the guest to stay as long as needed and the offering was to be "without grumbling." Hospitality is hard work. Guests may overstay their welcome. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Fish and visitors stink after three days." But believers were to take on this ministry cheerfully.
Today hospitality has been reduced to having people over for an evening meal or hosting a small group. And certainly, that's a great start. But do you know of anyone who may need more than an evening of fellowship? Maybe God is leading you to open your home and offer help to a pregnant teenager, a displaced family, or a missionary couple home on furlough. Remember God's Word is as true today as in the first century A.D. when there wasn't a hotel on every corner. So ... offer hospitality and cheerfully embrace the opportunity to minister to others.
Father, open our eyes to see the needs around us. May we be willing to use what You have given us to help those going through difficult parts of their journey. In Jesus' name. Amen.