The Christian and the Stranger Part 2
Strangers Who Are Saints
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. - 1 Peter 4:8-9
In this passage we see we are commanded in God’s Word to open our homes and lives to the saints, or brothers and sisters in Christ. In the time of Paul and Peter this was very much a necessity, not just because of the absence of inns but because of the persecution of the Christians. Many times the Christians under persecution in one town or region would be forced to leave or be thrown out. When this happened they had to depend upon brothers and sisters in Christ they had never met to take them in and help them until they could get back on their feet. Peter said they were to do this without complaining. Complaining showed their doing it through compulsion instead of through love and understanding.
In so many ways we have become a closed society and this is even seen among Christians, even among church members. In times past Sunday dinner at other member’s homes was the custom not the exception. I remember my Grandmother hosting visiting pastors, missionaries or just church members. Why? It was part of her Christian calling and a source of great joy and purpose
My Grandmother, Buna George, rarely told jokes, nevertheless she had a joke about Sunday afternoon meals with the visiting preacher.
It seems one Sunday a farmer and his wife invited the preachers and a couple of preacher boys over to the house for chicken dinner. After dinner they were sitting on the farmhouse porch when then noticed an old rooster strutting through the front yard. The pastor thought he'd kid his host and said,
"Why, Brother, the way that rooster struts I think he must surely be a little too proud of himself."
"Well, pastor" the farmers said, "He has a right to be proud. He just got three sons in the ministry."
There should be no other people, that we should welcome more into our homes and lives, than the saints of God. No matter how ornery they are. Now that was a word Grandma did use often, though usually in reference to us grandkids.
Jesus said, "When they receive you they receive me." If that is true, then it means if we refuse to show Christian hospitality to the household of faith then it is the same as refusing to allow the Lord into our home as well. Wouldn’t that be a terrible sin.