The Point: Ground your service and love in hospitality.
Get Into the Study
Use this story to introduce the theme of gracious hospitality.
As summer comes to an end, many people are taking a final summer vacation or planning a trip for fall break. In August, the U.S. State Department relaxed its travel advisory for trips to Cuba, dropping the warning from “reconsider travel” to “exercise increased caution.” The State Department also issued a new travel advisory for Mexico raising its warning from “exercise normal precautions” to “exercise increased caution.” With changes in travel restrictions come questions about the impact on the hospitality industry, which includes hotels, restaurants, and transportation.
Direct your group to consider the term “hospitality industry” and its connection to traditional ideas of hospitality. Discuss how companies like Airbnb have tried to incorporate traditional ideas of hospitality into the hospitality industry. How have these attempts succeeded and how have they fallen short?
Hospitality is a Biblical command. It is not about providing hotels and restaurants to visitors. It doesn’t even mean allowing strangers to rent rooms in your house. In this session, we will explore how gracious hospitality is a sacrificial extension of brotherly love.
Study the Bible (Optional Activity)
After discussing Question #4, display the following pictures
Say: “A person in a row boat does all the work; when a person is on a cruise ship, someone else does all of the work; in a sail boat, the sailor positions the boat so that the wind will provide the power to move it through the water.”
Question: Based on this example, how do we typically function in the church? Refer to the author’s comments on PSG page 43 (Senior Adult PSG) about the importance of acting in faith to experience the enabling power of God. (This option is a part of the Senior Adult Leader Guide, page 44.)
Live It Out
Use this story to wrap up the session and recap what you have discussed about hospitality.
Police officer Celeste Ayala was part of a team that had just taken six malnourished siblings into state custody near Buenos Aires, Argentina.¹ The children were removed to a local hospital where the youngest baby wouldn’t stop crying. Ayala, herself the mother of a 16-month old, recognized the baby’s need: “I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth, so I asked to hug him and breastfeed him.”²
A colleague of Ayala’s photographed her compassionate action and shared it on Facebook. In the post, which has been shared more than 100,000 times, her colleague wrote, “I want to make public this great gesture of love that you made today with that baby, who you did not know, but for whom you did not hesitate to act like a mother. You did not care if he was dirty or smelly … Things like that are not seen every day.”
Ayala has since been promoted from officer to sergeant. In announcing Ayala’s promotion, the minister of security tweeted, “We wanted to thank you in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby’s cry. That’s the type of police we’re proud of, the police we want.”
Ask: How did the police officer in this story embody characteristics of gracious hospitality? (e.g. sacrificial, personal, concrete action, awareness of others’ needs).
Nikki Wilbanks has a background in commercial real estate appraisal and investment, but is thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher, currently. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she studied literature. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
- When you hear the word hospitality, what images, words, or experiences come to mind?
- What is your “go to” hosting food?
- Who personifies hospitality in your life?
1 Peter 4:7
- Why is it important for believers to be serious about prayer?
- Since things are coming to an end, why does it matter for us, as the church, to remain alert and “sober-minded”?
- Why is prayer an essential ingredient in the way we reflect God’s understanding of hospitality?
1 Peter 4:8-9
- Why did Peter say in verse 9 to show hospitality without grudging?
- What do you enjoy about practicing hospitality?
- How have you experienced the connection between hospitality and love?
1 Peter 4:10-11
- In what ways do hospitality and ministry demonstrate the grace of God to others?
- How do you see God’s provision and our responsibility at work in this passage?
- What emotions do you experience when you are served by others?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Welcome Home, Session 3
NOTE: This video is free. Ministry Grid may ask you for a log-in, but all that requires is your email address. Ministry Grid will not share your email address with anyone.