“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
It was a very sunny day at the apartment complex my dad lived at. I was 10 or 11 and we were visiting him for the weekend and he took us swimming. During the swim a few of our friends who did not live at the complex showed up. My sisters and I were excited to see them. We invited them in with an excited wave. The gate was locked so I got out to let them in. My dad yelled at me to get back in the pool and then proceeded to yell at my friends because according to my dad they didn’t belong there. He said you don’t live here so you can’t swim here. He wouldn’t let them in. I took a quick dive under the water to pretend like I didn’t hear or see any of his outbursts.
This was an odd behavior for my dad because he is actually a very generous man.
I understood that there was a lock on the gate because it was not a pool for anyone who lived outside the apartment complex but what I didn’t understand is why we couldn’t bring them in as friends. We were allowed to let outsiders swim in the pool if they were with us. It seemed simple enough to me.
25 years later I reflect on that memory and realize that ironically it taught me a lot. Recently, we were at the mall. I had the kids at the play area and there was a mini carousel with three seats. A little girl got on and just before her dad put the dollar in the machine he asked me if Jay and Ellie would like to ride. They joyfully accepted and together the three of them had fun. After, we returned the favor by inserting another dollar so that all three could ride again. The little girls dad could have easily said
“No no no. You don’t get to ride. I paid. Not you. You have to pay to ride.” He didn’t do that though. Instead, he opened up the opportunity for my kids to enjoy what was available to share.
I don’t want to live a “us four no more life”. I want to invite others in. I always want to make room for everyone. I want what I have to be a blessing to others.
- Who can you be welcoming to?
- What gifts do you have that you can use to bless others?
- Is there anyone who you have trouble showing hospitality to? How can this change?
- When has there been a time when someone has welcomed you with joy?