Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
At the end of verse 13, Paul says we are to be “given to hospitality.” The word given is the Greek word translated “pursue” everywhere else in the New Testament. This could be translated “pursuing hospitality.”
Hospitality is actually a compound word in the Greek language. The first part of the word means to be fond of. The second part means guests. So hospitality means to be friendly to strangers, to open your heart and open your home to others.
The Scripture is very strong when it says we are to pursue hospitality. It is one of the greatest ways in all the world to demonstrate the love of God to people who are in need.
I remember like it was yesterday a time I was preaching at a church. It was over 20 years ago, when I was a newlywed. After the service was done, Janet and I were standing around not knowing what to do. No one was speaking to us and the church had made no provision for our lodging or meals.
Just then an elderly couple came up to us and invited us to their home for lunch, which we gratefully accepted.
And you know what? I don’t remember what I preached that day, but to this day I remember eating roast in that couple’s home. I remember their graciousness, their hospitable spirit, and how much they made us feel welcome.