And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. – 1 Peter 4:8-10
Over Labor Day weekend, we drove to Ohio to visit some dear friends.
Missionaries to Tanzania, they are on an extended furlough in the U.S. as they consider what the Lord has in store for them next. Their situation is complicated by the whims of the Tanzanian government, as well as the virus that has brought about so many travel restrictions.
Yet, they stay calm and strong and joy-filled, their friendship still more about giving to us and to our children, than about their own struggles.
During our visit, I was most touched by their hospitality. They had just moved to a temporary home, a mission house owned by their church, and yet they shared meals with us. They were happy to eat whatever pleased us, whenever was convenient for us. Our get-togethers were filled with laughter.
They gave to us in such a way that it seemed no trouble to them – in fact, giving of themselves appeared to nourish their souls as much as ours.
Now, that’s the gift of hospitality.
My friends have inspired me to share my own love of cooking and homemaking more frequently.
Through the years, I’ve used many excuses not to have company:
The house is being renovated.
I’m too busy homeschooling.
Having company is too stressful, time-consuming, and expensive.
I’m an introvert – why would I invite more people to share my space?
People don’t return the hospitality.
None of that has significantly changed, although most of our major renovations are done and the house doesn’t resemble a construction zone anymore.
But I hope I have changed. I’ll never be naturally hospitable like my friend, Natalie, but I’m more willing now to do the right thing and reach out to others. I’ve invited some friends and family to come over throughout October, and I’ve been stocking my freezer accordingly, with all sorts of casseroles and cookie dough and anything else I can make ahead.
I’m trying to give of the gifts I do possess, rather than focus on the ones I don’t.
When God called Moses to lead the exodus from Egypt, Moses focused on the gifts he didn’t have, rather than on what he did. He leaned on the gift of eloquence possessed by his brother, Aaron.
And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. – Exodus 4:10
It’s interesting to see that Moses made his excuses just after God showed him what miraculous things He could do with a big stick.
And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand. – Exodus 4:2-4
God asked Moses to examine what he had: What is that in thine hand?
I imagine Moses was a bit baffled as he answered the question: A rod (of course, God, you know what I have!).
And then God patiently led Moses through the lesson he was meant to learn: God can use the ordinary to perform the extraordinary, even the miraculous. In the end, God used that rod to divide the Red Sea, draw water from a desert rock, and more.
If we are willing to give whatever we have to God, He can use those things in unimaginable ways.