Other translations make clear that what Peter wrote was to practice hospitality to one another without complaint. Or, Christians, be hospitable to Christians without complaining about it.
Does the thought of inviting people into your home bring anxiety and dread? When someone comes seeking help, do you open the door or send them on their way?
We need to remember that Peter wrote these words to believers in time when Romans despised Christians, believing them to be responsible for the downfall of their culture. What would it be like to open your home to someone then, especially if you didn’t know them? To have someone knock on your door, saying they were a follower of The Way, but they are strangers to you? And yet, the Holy Spirit prompted Peter to say to do that very thing. And not only share your home, but to do so cheerfully. How can one do that? It could land you in the arena with the lions or on a cross along the Appian Way!
I’m pretty sure that outside the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you can’t just do this, even today. See, when we’re not filled with His presence in our lives, directing our thoughts and actions, we are selfish. We think of us and how any given situation is going to affect us.
Instead of being a grace or benevolence, inviting someone into our home becomes a benefit. We bring in people who can promote us, our business, or our causes. We invite the revered, and ignore the scorned. Somehow, I don’t think that’s what God meant when He said this through Peter. I rather suspect that He meant just what this says: be prepared to help out other believers who are in need. Feed them, give them a place to stay, and do so without griping about it.
I remember long ago when I was a child visiting my grandmother’s house, I would often sleep on a pallet of blankets on the living room floor. There weren’t extra bedrooms, but when a little girl wanted to stay near Grandma, a bed was made.
We don’t have to have luxury accommodations to offer those whom God sends to us for help, only our heart surrendered to Him. That surrendered heart will have surrendered all possessions to Him, making it easier to open home and hearth to fellow sojourners in need. Be it a sofa and blanket, or a pallet on the floor, a place out of the weather where one can sleep in peace and safety is a blessing. Any meal able to be eaten without fear is as well.
I think the larger point here is that we who are Jesus Followers are supposed to be taking care of one another. We’re to see one another and be willing to share what God has blessed us with to bless others.
Those blessings aren’t ours to hoard,
they are ours to share.
It’s time we stopped offering preferential treatment to the revered to include the scorned. We’re to care for our spiritual siblings just like we would want to be cared for. We’re to receive God’s blessings and then turn around and distribute them to others.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.