September 16, 2022
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:9-10 NIV).
Friend to Friend
More than two decades ago, my husband James and I lived with my parents for about a month while we were waiting to move into a new house. One of the perks of living with my mom was the magic laundry. She would take my laundry basket and not only do the laundry, she would fold every single piece of clothing meticulously. My t-shirts looked like the folded shirts you see at upscale boutiques. The items I usually toss into a drawer were tightly folded and neatly stacked. James and I called it magic laundry because we would open a drawer and our clothes would magically appear–clean, fresh, and folded.
The kicker was my mom never even complained or made it seem like a burden. She did it with joy. Her magic laundry was a guilt-free, grumbling-free service.
I have a lot to learn, not just about folding laundry, but about serving others without complaining. In today’s truth, Peter is reminding believers to “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” It’s one thing to offer hospitality and then brag about it or expect something in return. It’s another thing to offer it with no strings attached and without griping.
What does this look like in everyday life? Pouring milk with a smile. Cooking dinner after a long day. Inviting a neighbor over for a cup of tea. Driving a friend to a doctor’s appointment. If you have children or aging parents to care for, don’t grumble as you serve or rack up points in your mind. Banish the martyr mentality and embrace the blessing of hospitality.
I must admit when I am writing these words on the computer, I’m all for hospitality. But when I clean the house because guests are coming over, I usually feel overwhelmed, not encouraged. 1 Peter 4:10 continues to say, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” There’s effort involved in being hospitable to others. It is work. But it’s good work. Hospitality is a reasonable service to God and your family and community.
Whether you’re creating magic laundry like my mom or entertaining your extended family for dinner, remember you are being a good steward of the gifts you’ve been given. Literally the definition of steward is “one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns, one appointed to supervise the provision and distribution of food and drink in an institution.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? I can’t help but wonder what would change in our hearts and lives if we saw our daily activities as a joy instead of a burden.
Imagine how cool it would be to have your name recorded in the Bible. That’s exactly what happened in Romans 16:23 to a man named Gaius, who hosted none other than the Apostle Paul. In the letter greeting the church in Rome, Paul includes greetings from Gaius “whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy.” No doubt Gaius served them with joy, not with grumbling.
So the next time you are doing laundry and you don’t feel magical at all, remember Gaius. Remember my mom. Do it with a smile and a tiny spring in your step. Remember the verses from 1 Peter. Let’s be grace receivers and grace givers, sharing hospitality to those around us without complaining about it. Whether you live alone and offer a cup of coffee to a visiting friend or you have a packed household with ten mouths to feed, you can serve without grumbling. The ultra neat folding of laundry however is totally optional.
Dear God, forgive me for complaining when I am serving others. Help me want to serve. Change my heart. Show me someone today who needs my hospitality. Thank You for the grace You give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Who are people in your life that you regularly serve? What would help you show hospitality more cheerfully?
Who is the most hospitable person you know? What can you learn from her or him?
Leave a comment, share his/her name, and let's celebrate that person.
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