The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
I Peter 7-11

If you were told that the world was ending next week, how would you spend the next 7 days?

I think we would probably cancel all our appointments, not go to work, pull the kids out of school and spend time with our families. We would surround ourselves with the people we love most. Well, at least that is what I would want to do.

The passage for today is a strange little passage in that Peter begins it by saying “the end of all things is near.” While we don’t know when the end will come, it does come nearer every day, doesn’t it, and so we ought to ask, what should I be doing if the end is near?

Peter has the answer. He tells us to love one another earnestly (or deeply). We are to do that by showing hospitality and using our gifts to serve others. This is the part that goes against our nature. The end is near and we are to spend it serving and loving others? We tend to be a selfish people who think about self preservation and self care first. But Peters is telling us to go against our natural inclinations and to show hospitality.

To the persecuted

During the persecution of the early church many believers were left with nothing but their lives. Some had to flee their homes and even their countries. If fellow believers did not take them in and share generously with them they would have been destitute.

We are seeing a lot of awful and terrifying acts of persecution against Christians these days. We may not have some of these persecuted people knocking on our door, just yet, but we need to be ready in our minds to selflessly and joyfully come to the aid of those who have lost everything because of their faith. Persecutions doesn’t just come through extremist groups, but even family, bosses and friends can prosecute someone for their faith. Are we ready to step up and help?

To the neighbor

Hospitality means “love for stranger” and all of us are surrounded by strangers.  The people God places in our life are the people we are to love and serve. Whether it means having people into our home to share a meal or whether it means using our gifts to show love and compassion at a soup kitchen. There is no shortage of opportunities and people who need kind words, warms smiles and help.

Good hospital-ity is making your home a hospital. The idea is that friends and family and the wounded and weary people come to your home and leave helped and refreshed.
– Kevin DeYoung

To our fellow believers in Christ

We should make a special effort to love fellow Christians. These are our spiritual brothers and sisters, fellow heirs of the kingdom of God. If we are going to spend eternity together we should get to know one another. We can do this by hosting a Bible study or having people over for a potluck or game night. There are many ways in which we can build relationships and make people feel welcomed and loved.

This takes sacrifice. I’m not really thinking about physical things as much as I am thinking about time. We tend to be quite stingy with our time and it is hard for us to give up our evenings or weekends. If we don’t we will miss out on blessing others and being blessed. We should also trust that God will give us the rest that we need.

To our Family

Sadly this can be the hardest group of people for us to show hospitality to. Do your children love being at home and want to bring their friends over or would they rather be somewhere else?  Does your husband look forward to coming home after a long day at work or does he dread it a bit. How do we love our family? Do we do it grudgingly, with lots of sighs, internal feelings of annoyance and thoughts like “what about me”?

Here is something to think about. How much we love Jesus comes out in the way we care and treat others.

In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about the day of judgement where he will separate the sheep from the goats. And he says to the sheep,

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,”
Matthew 25:35

He calls himself a stranger in need of care and hospitality, but his followers are confused because they don’t remember seeing him in this way. He explains to them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:40

Life is not about material belonging, life experiences or “me time”. It is about people. God is all about relationships and we should be too.

Freely you have received, freely give.
Matthew 10:8

Looking To Jesus,
jen-sig

 

 

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