Let your soul take a moment of rest as you hear God’s word. Put your busy schedule, wandering mind, stressful thoughts, and burdened heart at the feet of the cross and open up to God’s voice as the Giver of Life tends your soul.
1 Peter 4:7-19 (NRSV)
The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker. Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?”
Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.
Recently, I spent a weekend at Camp John Speer in East Tennessee with a small, yet diverse, group of women from the Presbytery of East Tennessee. Our theme for the weekend was Holy Hospitality. The discussion leader posed two questions that remain on my heart: What makes a good host? What makes a good guest?
I think the answers to these questions lie in understanding our own spiritual gifts and the gifts of the people in our community. Knowing our own spiritual gifts and working with our community to understand each individual’s strengths helps us to foster an environment where people feel connected and welcome. If your individual gift is recognized and celebrated in your community, you feel that you are able to contribute to the overall goals of the community. In doing this, we are showing love to one another. A community of people who are able to show love to one another is prepared and equipped to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth by serving their city, county, country, and world.
Let us be good stewards of our gifts and help those around us to recognize and celebrate their own gifts. There is indeed room for all!
God of love and hospitality, we praise you for the overflow of gifts you have given each individual. Help us to be a community that celebrates the unique gifts of each member and seeks to work together to use our collective gifts to serve you in love. Amen.
Go with God.