Links Daily Devotional

Are You Open?

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:9-10, NASB)

A few weeks ago I left the cooler temperatures of West Michigan for the Arizona heat and spent three days with a few Links Fellowships in Phoenix and Tucson. I shared my story of faith and golf, gave two golf clinics, and played 36 holes with 39 different people. It sounds and feels like a lot now that I’m back home, but God’s goodness was evident through each group’s unique gift of hospitality.

During my playing days, “hospitality” meant the place where breakfast and lunch was provided for us players, or it was where we mingled with sponsors at the required weekly pro-am party. Away from the course, I have typically associated hospitality as the ability to host a knockout party with creative decorations, lavish food, and festive desserts—a gift my sister exhibits, but one I do not possess.

Philoxenos is the Greek word used in today’s passage that has been translated into “hospitable.” It paints a picture of being generous to guests and loving strangers. As a spiritual gift, hospitality is the ability to provide an open home and warm welcome with food, lodging, and fellowship. If we peel away one more layer of the onion, a person with this gift also offers a safe and comfortable space where people feel valued, cared for, and welcomed. Hospitality purposes to connect people together for deeper relationships.

I experienced this kind of hospitality from all three Links Fellowships I visited. The male leaders from Anthem CC welcomed me, their wives, and other women to join in their time of Bible study and golf. The ladies who lead the Robson Ranch Fellowship made me feel noticed and known through the little things they did for me, like homemade chocolate chip cookies without nuts! The SaddleBrooke group shared their enthusiasm for the Lord and golf through a meaningful conversation, food and fellowship on the course. I experienced a safe space to share from the deeper places of my heart with these new friends.

Peter encourages us to be faithful stewards of God’s grace by using whatever gift(s) we have received for the purpose of serving others; one way we can do this is through hospitality. I both love and feel intimidated by the people in my life whose gift of hospitality oozes out of their entire being as they lavishly love others with creativity and attention to details. As I continue to grow and welcome who God created me to be, I am beginning to recognize that the gift of hospitality is not absent from my heart. It just looks different.

My hospitality is extravagant in subtle ways and shows up when I sit and listen to a hurting friend, when I say yes to spontaneous fellowship, when I do the little things that make a friend feel noticed and cared for, and it also shows up when I share my golf skills with new friends.

Peter wrote, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” In other words, we are to be generous and love others without holding any secret grudges. Most days this might feel hard and contrary to our natural tendencies, but we always have a choice. What would you like to choose today?

Tracy Hanson
October 16, 2014
Copyright 2014 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.