There’s a story about a family who invited the pastor over for dinner, and Mum asked their five-year-old to say grace. Puzzled, the child asked, ‘What should I say?’ Her mum replied, ‘Just say what you’ve heard me say.’ So, bowing her head, the little girl prayed, ‘Dear God, why on earth did I invite the pastor over to dinner?’ Let’s be honest, hospitality is hard work. It involves sacrifice. And you are to ‘do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining…as representing Him).’ (1 Peter 4:9 AMP) Who are you representing? God! That puts a new slant on it, doesn’t it?
Paul writes, ‘Practise hospitality.’ (Romans 12:13 NIV) Peter writes, ‘Be hospitable…with brotherly affection for…unknown guests…foreigners, the poor, and all others.’ (1 Peter 4:9 AMP) So, have you had any unknown guests, foreigners or poor folks over to dinner lately? A man conducting a church survey wrote, ‘Of almost 200 churches I visited, I was spoken to in only one by someone other than an “official greeter”—and that was to tell me I was sitting in their seat!’
It’s easy to extend hospitality to people you know, but Jesus said, ‘Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you?’ (Matthew 5:46 GNT) So, how about those you don’t know? Those who don’t fit in your social group? Yes, you can find excuses—you’re too busy, you don’t want to get involved, and you’re uncomfortable around strangers. But God says you represent Him, and that means sacrificing your personal agenda, giving of your time and money, going out on a limb for people you don’t know or even like, and seeing others through God’s eyes. That’s practising hospitality!