Watch out for the "but"

Do you remember that scene from the beginning of Finding Nemo? The kid sea creatures see a boat in the distance. As Nemo swims up to the boat and defiantly slaps the boat, or what they the mistakenly call the “butt”, the little fish whispers, “he touched the butt!” I crack up at that every time - sometimes I have a 6 year old boy sense of humor. We’re not actually talking about boats or anyone’s booty today. But, we are going to talk about “buts”. You know the ones.

Thank you, but…

I’d love to but…

1 Peter 4:9 says, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” I’m going to explain what I mean about the “but”, but first, this 7 word verse has a lot to unpack! First, we are to show hospitality. Hospitality culturally is often associated with the hotel industry. We think of it in terms of concierge services and spa packages. Perhaps when you hear hospitality you think of flawlessly themed wedding showers or beautifully decorated tables at a women’s ministry event. These ideas are facets of hospitality, but they are not sustainable to the biblical mandate to “show hospitality”. Hospitality in the Greek literally refers to showing kindness and a welcoming attitude to both friends and strangers alike.

BUT! (see what I did there ;)) Today, I want to focus mostly on the last part of the verse - without grumbling. I would venture to guess most of us don’t realize just how much we grumble about hospitality. Grumbling here is actually the word for murmuring or a slow droning. Hmmm….that sounds much more like what I do! I don’t say, “ugh having people over is such an inconvenience.” “I can’t believe she thinks she needs meals after having another baby!” However, have you ever thought along these lines?

I’d love to have people over more, but our family is just so busy.

I would take them a meal, but they live far away so let me see if other people step up first.

I want to open up my home to a Bible study someday, but I still have little ones at home right now.

I need to get better about hospitality, but I’ve just got a lot going on.

This constant murmuring in our hearts is hurting us and others! My thoughts can drone on endlessly for all the reasons that I am not equipped. There are literally ZERO qualifiers for hospitality, however, we add them each time we say “I’d love to, but….” I think of Matthew 25 when the people will ask Jesus, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or in need?” If we aren’t actively pursuing hospitality, then we miss these opportunities to meet the needs of our fellow humanity; we also miss encountering Jesus! I don’t know about you, but no excuse I can think of for avoiding hospitality is worth that!

What are the grumblings you struggle with the most? What are some ways you’ve found to help you practice hospitality regular? Let’s encourage each other in the comments below!