Loving Strangers

August 2019: A Word From Dr. Stanley

When you hear a sermon on the importance of hospitality, how do you react? Some people feel guilty, others feel inadequate, and those with the gift of hospitality say “Amen!” But whether or not we have special gifting in this area, 1 Peter 4:9 tells all of us to “be hospitable to one another without complaint.”

Though practicing hospitality may require breaking out of your comfort zone to show Christ’s love to a stranger, doing so will bless both you and the other person.

So what exactly is hospitality? Today the term is taken to mean something different from how it was understood in the first century. We often equate hospitality with inviting people to dinner or housing visitors, and these gestures are part of it. But the Greek word means “loving strangers.” And for most of us, there are two broad groups of people we count as strangers—folks we don’t know in the church and those outside the church.

If you’ve ever had to find a new congregation, you know the awkwardness a stranger feels—and the difference it makes when someone greets and wants to get to know you. Remembering that many people are lonely, we should conduct ourselves with wisdom toward unbelievers, being sensitive to their needs and making the most of opportunities to show care and concern (Col. 4:5). This includes sharing about our relationship with God.

Though practicing hospitality may require breaking out of your comfort zone to show Christ’s love to a stranger, doing so will bless both you and the other person. I pray these devotions will be an encouragement to notice needs God may want to meet through you.

 
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What happens to my notes

9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.

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