1 Peter 4:9-11
Use hospitality one to another without grudging.…
Using hospitality one to another, etc. Here the apostle describes Christian love as a service. For as the word variously translated "minister and deacon" denotes a servant, so the word "ministereth" here really conveys the simple thought of service - a thought which veins the beautiful marble of these two verses. This service is -
I. UNIVERSAL IN ITS OBLIGATION. "As each hath received a gift." That includes all, for all are gifted by God with some endowment or other. The man who has received no gift from God would be one not only without possession or influence, but without life; he is as nothing, and he is nowhere to be found. We have seen all through the Epistle some of Peter's memories of his Lord's teaching. Is there not here a recollection of the parable of the talents? In its light every gifted man is "a steward" (ver. 10).
II. MANIFOLD IN ITS METHOD. All serve, but all serve in different ways. The service of love is not a dreary monotone, but the richest music; it embraces the full diapason of duty. It is "the manifold grace of God." Some of the notes are here. "Using hospitality." This is specially applicable to those to whom the Epistle was first written, i.e. "strangers of the dispersion." It was, indeed, almost the earliest form of Christian charity. Peter finds it in Simon the tanner, Paul in Gains, etc. It is incumbent on men now in the midst of the yawning social distinctions, and of the ceaseless travel of today, Here is an echo of the teaching of the apostle's Lord, "I was a stranger, and ye took me in." "Without murmuring;" i.e. without grumbling. Three watch-dogs keep the door of the inhospitable man: temper, suspicion, reproach. "If any man speaketh." Just as the hands put on the table viands for the body, the lips are to spread a banquet for the intellect and the heart. How? "As it were oracles of God." That must mean with reality, with purity, with tenderness. "If any man ministereth." This comprehends every form of service. It is a widening of the other two just mentioned. "As of the strength which God supplies." That implies that the service will be rendered
(1) humbly, - no pride, for he is a channel only, not a fountain;
(2) freely, - no stint, or grudging, when God is the Source.
III. ONE IN PURPOSE. "That in all things God may be glorified." Hospitality, teaching, almsgiving, all are to be for the glory of God. "Through Jesus Christ." Had it not been for Jesus Christ, that kindness, activity, wisdom, liberality, would not have been. He awakened all. He is the Head from whom the life of love flows. "Whose is the glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen." This is not a note of conclusion, but of strong emotion. Reason, gratitude, love, all utter their deep "amen' to the declaration that God through Christ has endless glory and dominion. - U.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Use hospitality one to another without grudging.