Strange Love

1 Peter 4:7
Keep on loving each other as brothers and
sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality
to strangers (Hebrews 13:1-2).

For many years I served as an itinerant Bible teacher
and traveled to different cities to teach God’s Word.
Usually, I would stay in a local church family’s home
during my visit—believers in Jesus whom I met for the very
first time. Showering me with simple creature comforts,
these hospitable people gave me “a home away from
home.” I often marveled that my hosts would risk inviting
me, a complete stranger, into their lives.

Encouraging believers who were suffering because
of persecution (1 Peter 1:6, 4:12), Peter reminded his
readers of things that are “most important of all” (v.8). He
encouraged believers to “continue to show deep love for
each other” (v.8)—to unconditionally forgive one another;
“cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal
or a place to stay” (v.9); diligently use your spiritual gifts
to serve one another (v.10); and to deliberately seek to
glorify God in everything you do (v.11).

In welcoming me into their homes, believers in Jesus
did more than just show me Christian love; they obeyed
the command to “offer hospitality to one another without
grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9 NIV). The word hospitality in
Greek literally means, “being friendly to strangers.”
Peter exhorted Christians to provide food and lodging to
traveling Bible teachers and to believers who had been
displaced by persecution.

Twice in the book of Hebrews we’re reminded to be
hospitable, suggesting that it’s something that’s often neglected. “Don’t forget to
show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:2) and “Don’t forget to do good and
to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God” (13:16),
and bring glory to Him (1 Peter 4:11). —K.T. Sim

Paul listed hospitality as a
qualification for spiritual
leadership (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:8). Why is it
a necessary prerequisite
for leaders?

What are some ways
you can practice
hospitality today? Would
you consider opening
your home to a visiting
believer? Why or
why not?