Radical Hospitality: We go the extra mile to care for others because people’s stories matter.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9

Without grumbling? Why would the bible say such a thing? Maybe it’s because hospitality could cause more dishes in the sink, hours of cleaning and prep, maybe extra expenses like more mouths to feed, or maybe talking to someone who you might not know, and having to adjust your schedule. These reasons are enough to give us pause to take our next steps towards hospitality. So how do we answer the call and do so radically??

The answer to this question starts with the gospel [like any good answer should]. Romans 5:8 says “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Matt Chandler says it perfectly in his article Hospitality is Courageous:

“… God has been hospitable to us. Even when we were living as his enemies, God came and saved us. He opened the door and invited us into his presence. We demonstrate that we truly appreciate the divine hospitality we have received as we extend our own hospitality to those around us.”

The reality of the gospel gives us a crystal-clear picture of how to live a life geared toward hospitality. It seems simple. Be like God and send your only son. Be like Jesus and eat with the sinners, befriend the tax collector, meet the woman at the well, feed the thousands, etc. Simple enough, right? So what holds us back?

If we stop at our excuses, we miss the call to be obedient.

If you want our personal excuses, here they are:

  • My environment isn’t perfect – my home is messy and my table isn’t big enough nor my couch soft enough, it’s not the right time.
  • I’m an introvert – please leave me alone in my corner, it’s hard for me to get out there and make conversation.
  • But it’s not my gifting – I’m not creative enough, I’m not bubbly enough, you should see my Pinterest fails, so-and-so is better and she/he can just do it

If we stop at our excuses, we miss the call to be obedient. The story ends there and we never know what we miss out on – the relationships, the joy, the courage to play a part in God’s redemptive story. So, let’s be courageous, let’s be radical.

What would it look like if we flipped those excuses and put them under the lens of the gospel:

  • My environment isn’t perfect – The gospel says, ‘so what?’ We all have laundry, dishes, and imperfect places to host. Start with inviting someone into your mess in order to get to know theirs. Hebrews 13:1-2.
  • I’m an introvert – The gospel shows us seclusion and self-protection are not the answer. Instead, embrace the way God made you and use that to figure out how to deeply care for and love people. There’s not just 1 or even 100 “right” ways to do it. What if you get a little uncomfortable to make someone comfortable? From her study entitled Arise, Kristin Schmucker says it like this, “We serve little by little in the ways that He has enabled us to, and then we can humbly and boldly ask for him to bless the work of our hands.” Nehemiah 5:19
  • But it’s not my gifting – The gospel calls us to simple, everyday faithfulness. It’s not the flashy, instagrammable event that needs hospitality. It’s the things that go unnoticed like inviting the stranger into your home and welcoming the vulnerability.  It’s not about a gifting – it’s about what you have and everybody has something to extend. Acts 4:32

Even if these are not your excuses, identify what yours are, see what’s holding you back, and allow the gospel to transform you to live courageously through daily acts of radical hospitality. Go the extra mile to care for others because people’s stories matter.

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