I love, love, love, having people over to my house. However, I usually manage to drive my family nuts with the preparations that need to be made prior to that knock on the door. I want guests to my home to feel comfortable and welcomed. I most certainly do not want them to realize how much I’ve stressed in the preceding hours. It is funny that after my family has spent the day with Mrs. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll comes out to play with the guests.
From the Bible, we learn that hospitality is a God-given gift that should be used to bring glory to Him. Through hospitality, Paul tells us in Hebrews one might entertain angels and not know it. Peter makes it clear that hospitality is not merely a suggestion but a requirement. The letter he wrote which addresses all Christians says:
“Show hospitality to one another without complaining. Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God” 1 Peter 4:9-10
I remember the show hospitality part of the verse but ignore the equally important second part which tells us to do it without complaining. One of the definitions for the word translated complaining is “secret displeasure not openly avowed.” OUCH! If I am bemoaning the cleaning and cooking as I am preparing, I am guessing that counts as complaining. The same is true of my mood. If by words and actions, I reflect anxiety and worry over each detail rather than enthusiasm and peace, it would seem to be the polar opposite of pleasure. True hospitality begins before the guests arrive, not with a smile and kind words when the door is opened.