Year of Calling: Offer Hospitality

Week 49 Word: Offer Hospitality

Week 49 Text: 1 Peter 4:9 NLT

Written By: Mendy Shriver

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4: 9)

I remember the very day I said “yes” to selfless, out-of-my-comfort-zone Jesus hospitality. I was in my living room. Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God” was playing in the background.” I sat in my cozy chair, laptop open, ready to feel inspired. I had recently been dreaming of adoption, reading books by brave missionaries, and praying for my husband to go on a mission trip with me. Up to that point, I had not yet thought about living beyond my small group potluck dinners, women’s Bible studies, and seasonal decorations.

My heart was crying out for something deeper. God was calling me to understand His version of hospitality. I began that day reading Katie Davis’ blog (founder of Amazima Ministries). She spoke of helping a diseased old woman inside a run-down hut in the middle of Uganda whom the villagers had left for dead. She was considered cursed. Katie didn’t care. Katie walked into a scary (unsanitary) situation and trusted God. She gave the “cursed” women medicine, changed her bloody dressing and loved on her. She returned from day to day to help clean the old woman’s wounds, bringing rice, medicine and supplies. She built a friendship with her before this abandoned and shunned woman died.

Speechless and spiritually broken, I started softly weeping. I knew I wanted more of what Katie Davis had. I knew, in that moment, I had innocently built my life with many safe walls and secure calculated decisions that led to only serving myself. I prayed scary big things that day. I sat alone with Jesus while my toddlers napped, and I asked Him to show me a new way. That turning point was the beginning of a long story of redemption for me and my family.

God sometimes whispers crazy things to us like:

“Go over there and serve those people who haven’t showered in a week and smell like vomit.”

“Go to that homeless person and tell her about your church services.”

“Shake that man’s dirty raw hand and declare the name of Jesus by simply looking him in the eyes and talking to him.”

“Take your little kids into the city and teach them to serve my hurting hungry people.”

“Anonymously drop $500 in a family’s (from church) mail box who cannot afford groceries this week.”

“Look into that abused and sexually trafficked child’s eyes and tell her Jesus loves her.”

These scary things that God whispers in our ears were not foreign to the newly converted Christians. Peter wrote his first letter to encourage and instruct Christians how to live during a time of great persecution. Peter tells them to “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Peter says love others with a type of hospitality that is free of complaint and “grumbling.”

We cannot even imagine a life where we could not freely practice loving Jesus without the fear of being arrested or considered a criminal, yet that was a daily reality for the recipients of Peter’s letter. We Americanized, spoiled Christians sit in warm homes with soft pillows, polished floors, and dusty Bibles. What will it take to do the crazy things God is whispering in our ears? Who will get up, take action, and offer sincere hospitality to the suffering hearts around the globe? If every Christian took the words of 1 Peter 4:9 seriously, we could change the world…one relationship at a time.

Application Questions:

1. Have you heard a whisper from God? Write it down (even if it sounds a bit crazy) on a slip of paper.

2. Put that slip of paper somewhere you will see it this week–taped to your mirror, in your billfold, in the cupboard that holds your coffee cups. Each time you see it, pray “Lord, show me how.”