August 20, 2021
Scripture: Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 3 John 1:5-6 ESV
Observation: Hospitality is a vital aspect of obeying Jesus’ command to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34 and 15:12). Just as Jesus has shown godly sacrificial love toward us in welcoming us into his kingdom home, so we are to do likewise. Here, John uses the same Greek word, “agape” (godly love), to emphasize that hospitality comes with a cost, particularly when we host people we do not personally know. Gaius (the recipient of this letter) did not know the servants of Christ he welcomed into his home. Still, while he would have expended time, energy, and resources, his sacrifice would scarcely compare to that of his Savior.
Takeaway: In concluding his exhortation about godly hospitality, John adds one more element: send them on their way “in a manner worthy of God.” There are two aspects to this phrase. First, we should offer our best to our guests as if we were welcoming our Lord (John 13:20, Galatians 4:14-15, Hebrews 13:2). Secondly, we should provide hospitality in a manner that praises God (Colossians 1:10, Philippians 1:27, 1 Thessalonians 2:12 ). How so? As Peter notes in his first letter to the church, without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9).
Prayer: Father God, enlarge our hearts toward all believers, whether friend or stranger, that we might generously offer hospitality to them in a manner that brings you praise and glory. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling