I grew up in the hills of East Tennessee, so I am no stranger to southern hospitality (and sweet-T)! I love meeting new people, being able to host over-night guests, laughing louder than the kids and sharing fancy crock-pot creations with good friends. That’s fun as well as scriptural to enjoy the saints and fellowship with other believers but, showing genuine hospitality is not just a cultural choice, it is a Biblical challenge.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. – 1 Peter 4:8
It is totally easy to hang out with my friend Amanda for hours on our front porch while her kids wreak havoc on our kitchen and play room inside. I love her. We are friends. No mess is too big to clean up, glue back together or paint over. It’s fun! However, showing hospitality without grumbling towards the cashier who takes 20 min to ring up my groceries while my kids go berserk, is way harder! But, I must be hospitable – genuinely kind – with NO GRUMBLING!
Showing hospitality and welcome towards people we enjoy is called friendship! On the other hand, when I think of showing hospitality towards someone who rubs me the wrong way or drains me, it becomes a sacrifice. Why? The Lord does not want a sacrifice from us. He wants willing obedience… joyful submission to the scriptures.
Grumbling is rooted in selfishness. Most timess when I notice myself getting annoyed or feeling “put out” it’s because I am concerned for my schedule, my comfort and my own agenda.
If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? – David Livingstone, 19th century African explorer/missionary
While it is important to preserve our marriages, homes and family time, we cannot ignore the ones that are hard to love. And we cannot love them with genuine, sincere, Jesus love when we are patting ourselves on the back and keeping track of our “sacrifices” for the Kingdom.
Jesus came to earth to rescue us! He tells us to love and serve without grumbling. This is not a preference issue, rather a perspective issue. As a follower of Christ, my goal should always be to extend Christ to others! Joyfully!
Having the right perspective will change my preferences! I must stay focused on Jesus if I am to extend His love to others.