Focal passage: 1 Peter 4:7-11
Apple Inc., now a trillion-dollar company, has hundreds of stores in the United States and has become a catalyst for many trends we see today in the realm of technology. But they are also known for something else: their retail store experience.
When you walk in, the staff acknowledges you, shows genuine interest in helping you and seeks to get you connected with the many services they offer. They have assigned staff based on their gifting and seem to always work as a team, accomplishing one objective: exposing you to Apple.
Likewise, as Christians, we must be known by our hospitality and treatment of those we meet, welcoming them into the gospel we profess.
Peter, in his letter to the dispersed exile Christians, seeks to show how biblical love and service for our neighbor must be grounded in hospitality. As we have been welcomed into the family of God by the gospel, we must now invite others to experience the same love we’ve found. Therefore, Peter tells them to “keep loving one another” (v. 8) since it is the foundation of all hospitality and service.
As Christians, we must be the most loving and hospitable people. Our churches, then, must become environments for people to experience true love and true warmth. The good news is that, when we love and show hospitality, we must display our varied gifts. These gifts are then the conduit through which God receives glory (vv. 10-11). God is glorified when His people use their gifts to create welcoming environments that show tangible love toward each other and those outside of the church.
Rather than cold churches, God desires warm churches that overflow with love. Doctrine matters! But, Jesus said that others will know us “by how we love” (John 13:35) and we must show the world that hospitality matters.