Why does Peter exhort his readers to offer hospitality without grumbling? Hospitality is pretty easy… isn’t it? I often invite people from church that I get along with over for dinner. We share laughs and stories and say we’ll pray for each other as we depart. I love to be with those who love to be with me. We all end the evening feeling good and, as I close the door, I say to my wife, “We need to do that more often.” Entertaining is pretty easy because everything happens when it is convenient for me. It seems difficult to grumble in such circumstances.

But what if this isn’t fully what Peter meant by hospitality?

In recent weeks, I’ve begun to realize that what I call hospitality isn’t hospitality so much as it is entertaining guests. While Peter wouldn’t exclude the above scenario, I know little of the hospitality Peter speaks of here. The Greek word here is philoxenos. Literally translated, it means love of (for) strangers.

Why does Peter exhort us not to grumble? Because love for the stranger is anything but convenient. “He looks different. He talks differently. He votes differently. He’s clingy, needy, depressed, insecure, and doesn’t understand boundaries or social cues.” If I’m honest, I don’t like true hospitality because it isn’t convenient for me.

Yet, nothing about Jesus coming to earth to rescue us was convenient. May we, like Jesus, glorify the Father by offering redemptively inconvenient hospitality toward people we come in contact with each day.

Heavenly Father, when it comes to hospitality, I’m woefully lacking. I’m thankful that you have put in me the same Spirit that was in Christ Jesus. Would you break down the dividing walls in my heart so that I might love people the way you do? Amen.

Go Deeper — Pray for God to open doors to spiritual conversation with the people He has placed in your life.

Read Further — What is your heart posture toward strangers?

Tags: The Letters of Peter I Peter 4
Photo Credit: Adi Constantin