Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Today's scripture: 1 Peter 4:9

1 Peter 4:9
"Be hospitable to one another without complaint." (NAS)
"Be hospitable to one another without grumbling." (KJV)

The word translated "be hospitable" is " philoxenos" -- simply, "hospitable, generous to guests".

The word translated "complaint" is "goggusmos" -- "a murmur, murmuring, muttering; a secret debate; a secret displeasure not openly avowed"

In other words, you're called to be hospitable without being cranky about it.

Lest hospitality seem a trivial, Martha Stewarty thing beneath the believer's notice, take a look at these studies and commentaries:

  • Hospitality: "The need for shelter is a fundamental human need. None of us ever knows for sure when we might be uprooted and cast on the mercy of others. But how do we overcome our fear in order to welcome and shelter a stranger? The Christian practice of hospitality is the practice of providing a space to take in a stranger. It also encompasses the skills of welcoming friends and family to our tables, to claim the joy of homecoming." Read the whole thing; it's short but to the point.

  • Exodus Network: "The word "hospitality" can only be found in the Bible (NIV) five times! Yet, the spirit of hospitality can be seen throughout the Word."

  • Nave's Topical Bible: Extensive Scriptural links to themes of hospitality.

  • Hospitality in the House of God: "Hospitality is a common theme throughout the Bible. References to hospitality first appear in the Hebrew Scriptures--the Torah (Law)--and are found throughout the history of Israel, the Psalms, the books of the prophets, the Gospels, and the writings of John, Paul, and Peter." Follow the links to further study.

    This is just a starter. Hospitality from a Scriptural standpoint is not the same as entertaining. It is recognizing God in others, and offering to them what we would offer to Our Lord -- a welcome, a meeting of the needs for food and shelter, a place of rest and refreshment.

    How hospitable are we being when we deny our own offspring the safety of our wombs? If we refuse to love our own children, sheltered in our bodies, how can we claim to love our brothers and sisters who seek refuge in our homes?

    Likewise we are called upon to offer hospitality to the troubled pregnant woman, to see to it that she has her needs met, so that she in turn can offer the hospitality of her love to her unborn child.
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