Outside Our Comfort-Circles

Hospitality matters because God is generous.

In Genesis 18 Abraham showed grand hospitality to three strangers. He didn’t know it at the beginning, but he was entertaining angels along with the Lord Himself. Abraham quickly prepared and served a great banquet to his unexpected guests. The author of Hebrews urged his readers to be ready to do the same.

Abraham was a man of means, but hospitality is a responsibility for every believer. The apostle Peter commanded his readers to it. He wrote, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9). Usually Paul is the one we look to for the “one anothers,” and Paul did exhort the Romans, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:13).

Hospitality is a kindness in welcoming guests and, it used to be, applied to those outside our comfort-circles. Hospitality is a way to love others through generously taking care of them. Invite, greet, serve, repeat. You don’t need to kill the fatted calf, but you do need to kill self-serving pride. You also don’t need to make sure everything is Pinterest perfect in your house. But you do need to clean up any bitterness or begrudging in your heart.

Most of Peter’s readers probably had rationalizations to avoid showing hospitality, such as fear of exposure as Christians or lack of resources, not to mention they were exiles. Yet the imperative stands as an expression of love. We are stewards of God’s varied grace, and we are to imitate Him in giving ourselves for others.

A Certain Way

I’ve posted about Enoch a few times the last few weeks. Though he is exceptional, he is also an example.

The author of Hebrews includes Enoch in the Hall of Faith.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

Genesis doesn’t explicitly state the part about pleasing God but it makes sense. It also sets up the inductive conclusion in the next verse. The particular instance of Enoch leads to this general principle.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Enoch believed that God is and that God is a certain way. Namely, God is eternally and unchangeably a giver to those who depend on Him.

The communion meal is an expression of our faith, not our works. We eat and drink in dependence on God through His Son. And we know what to expect. We’re not obligating God to do anything. We don’t demand wages. But we know that He loves to provide for and fill up and bless His people. He has given us His own Son. How will He not with Him graciously give us all things?

Leave your righteousness, leave your strength, and leave what you counted as gain. Receive by faith His righteousness, His strength in your weakness, and His reward for seeking Him.