1 Peter 4:9, 10 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
There is an old story that has a powerful message about opportunities. An Arab was traveling through the desert at night to escape the daytime heat, guided by the stars. Crossing a deep dry riverbed he heard a voice call out in the night. It said, “Dismount and gather up stones from the bed of the river and go on your way. In the morning you will be both glad and sad.”
He did what he was told and gathered up a handful of small stones from the riverbed, and mounting his camel, he continued on his way. At first light he opened the pouch in which he had put the stones and discovered that they were priceless jewels. At first he was ecstatic and then he was sad. He was grateful for what he had gathered but sad that he had not gathered more.
An opportunity had come to him and he had responded by filling one pouch. He could have ignored the voice; or he could have filled several pouches with stones. The blessing he received – or missed – was based on the choice he made. We encounter opportunities all the time. The question is do we have the eyes to see them and the motivation to respond if we do? We can be so caught up in our busyness that we don’t recognize or even consider them. All too often, opportunities can appear to us as burdens – a pocketful of stones.
Today’s verses describe a way of life that is rich both in blessings and rewards; being a blessing to others and receiving the rewards of administering God’s grace. These aren’t ‘stones’ to encumber us, but jewels to enrich us. Offering hospitality and serving others are pathways to building relationships, establishing community and expressing the love of God to one another. They are also marvelous blessings to the recipients. The wonderful thing is that our Lord opens our eyes to see the treasure that these things are while we are doing them. Pray that we will all respond faithfully to the opportunities He sends us each day.