One of the defining characteristics of true southern culture is hospitality. As a southern native myself, I understand the importance of such cultural hospitality. I can’t recall a southern home I’ve stepped into that hasn’t welcomed me with a delicious meal, an unhurried conversation, and the feeling as though I’m a part of a family. There is just something about genuine hospitality that southerners pride themselves on providing guests with.
Our understanding of hospitality can be limited at times, though. Hospitality that Paul is encouraging us to show is not quite the southern hospitality some of us may be accustomed to. Paul is simply encouraging Christians to show hospitality by sharing with others the love that God has shown us.
Recently, my wife and I walked to a nearby grocery store to grab a bucket of delicious fried chicken and a six-pack of Ale 8 soda—such a great combo! Does this make me a real Kentuckian now? As we walked back, we remembered our neighbors who are currently in the middle of a tough season. My wife asked me if they could join us for dinner, and we agreed to knock on their door and invite them. Unfortunately, they couldn’t join us for dinner, but they were so blessed that we even thought to ask them. Regardless of the meal, we just wanted to let them know that we were thinking of them. I don’t share this story to toot my own horn but to give an example of how easy it is to show hospitality to those in need. God has shown great hospitality to us, which is why we are called to show great hospitality to others. After all, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19, NIV).
Think of someone who may need a bit of hospitality today. Shoot them a text or pick up the phone and call them to simply let them know God loves them!