Sunday, 8 December 2019
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9
The word “Be” is inserted here in order to tie it to the previous clause, as it rightly belongs. Peter had just said that we should have fervent love for one another. Using the same thought, he continues the idea with “be hospitable to one another.” It is an adjective used by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8. Peter now uses it for the last time.
It literally means “fond of guests,” and thus it conveys the idea of being welcoming of others and given to hospitality. One could think of the saying, “Our doors are always open to you.” And to further define this, Peter next says, “without grumbling.”
The word signifies “muttering,” and the intent is obvious. One who is supposedly hospitable should not be grudging in their hospitality. Rather, they should be filled with accommodating speech and words of blessing.
Life application: There is a ton of difficulty for many of us in these seven words! In 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul says that elders are to be hospitable; it is one of the requirements of the job. Peter now says that everyone in the brotherhood is to be hospitable.
Logically, if an elder fails to be hospitable, then the congregation is going to be equally inhospitable. The old truth that a “nation won’t rise above its leader” applies to the church as well. The pastor of a church sets the tone for the entire congregation. If his doctrine is faulty, the congregation will be led astray. If he tolerates sin, the congregation will fall into the same sin. If he is a backbiter or a gossip, the congregation will tear itself apart. Likewise, the pastor of the congregation needs to be hospitable. When he is, the rest of the congregation will normally take on this favorable quality.
Being hospitable, however, needs to be genuine. If it is done in a spirit of grumbling, can anyone expect to see it as anything but a grudgingly committed act? Of course not! It is important to keep this in mind as we relate to others. Christ didn’t head towards Jerusalem hemming and hawing about the difficulty that lay ahead.
Instead, the Bible says, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). The NIV translates the word “steadfastly” as “resolutely.” Jesus faced the coming trial with determination and did it in such a way that Luke, while compiling his gospel, could state the matter in this strong and reliable language. Let us have a similar steadfast and resolute demeanor when we demonstrate hospitality towards those who come across our path.
Lord, we must admit that we are not always as hospitable as we should be. In addition to this, when we attempt to be, our heart isn’t always behind the act. Instead, we inwardly grumble about whatever inconvenience we perceive in the matter. Lord, give us a right heart as we deal with others – deferring to their needs and not to our own comfort. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.