"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be, praised through Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen" 1Peter 4:8-11 NIV
The word hospitality is sometimes confused with the word to entertain, however there is a great distinction in the meaning of these two words. To entertain means to invite friends and family into our home for dinner or a party. It also means the house must sparkle from ceiling to floor and special food must be prepared in advance. We want everyone to see us at our best and although dirty dishes may be, hidden in the oven, externally it appears we are the best housekeeper and cook in the neighborhood. Entertaining places the emphasis on the host, the one who issues the invitation. The comfort of the guests is less important than the glory and praise bestowed upon the host.
Hospitality is very different, it matters not the condition of our home when friends or family arrive. It matters not whether we serve a tuna salad sandwich, cup of soup, cheese and crackers or a drink and dessert. It matters not whether dirty dishes are in the sink or clean ones are in the dishwasher. Hospitality is a matter of the heart the focus is on the guests rather than on the host. Hospitality welcomes everyone and their comfort is uppermost in the mind of the host.
Hospitable people are people with a servant's heart using the gifts they have to benefit others in need. A servant's heart knows and recognizes pain, suffering and sorrow and willingly serves as an instrument of God's grace to all in need of healing. A servant's heart brings love where there is hatred, hope where there is doubt, strength where there is weakness, joy where there is sorrow, courage where there is fear and peace where there is turmoil. A servant's heart is trustworthy, nonjudgmental, and slow to speak. Those in need of a gentle embrace find God in the presence of a servant's heart.
How can we become a servant's heart to our wounded world? What gift do we have to offer those in need of a servant's heart? Are we willing instruments of God's healing grace to our family, friends, and others in need?
Are you a servant's heart to yoru family, neighborhood, workplace, the grocery store? How can you become a servant's heart in daily encounters with people in all facets of your life? Do you know someone who is truly a Servant's Heart for others?
Heavenly Father, today we come seeking those gifts we need to become people with a servant's heart. Help us to become meek and humble of heart, willing instruments of grace to those in need. Strengthen our faith where it is weak, remove our fear; fill us with hope; expand our love to include the poor, the lonely, the homeless, the neglected, and the abused. Soften our hearts toward those who seek to destroy us and enlighten our minds to the needs of others. Remove the scales from our eyes that we may see Your holy will in the mist of the blinding turmoil in our world. Teach us to love as You love and to trust You as Jesus trusted You. In His name, we pray, give us a servant's heart. Amen