Hospitality: Day 6

Show Unusual Kindness

by

Today's Text: Acts 27:39-28:10

Text: Acts 27:39-28:10

The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.
- Acts 28:2

In one of my favorite passages of Scripture, we find Paul on a boat full of prisoners and soldiers bound for Rome. During the journey, they are caught in a horrific storm and end up shipwrecked on a completely unfamiliar island. Prisoners are jumping overboard to avoid being killed by the soldiers, and one centurion goes out of his way to save Paul. It must have been total chaos. All of the men eventually wash ashore… cold, wet, scared, and tired.

I imagine in Acts 28, when the natives of Malta looked out and saw that ship tossing in the waves, they wondered what would happen next. Children playing on the beach ran to get their parents. Parents told neighbors, friends and shop owners, until word of the boat spread across town. Eventually even the island leaders knew. Who were the people on the ship? Would they be dead? Alive? Where were they from?

Before the townspeople even had a chance to learn that the men were prisoners, they welcomed Paul and that rag-tag bunch and showed them unusual kindness. The men were cold, so they kindled a fire. They were without shelter, so the chief of the entire island, Publius, invited them to stay. Scripture says that he entertained them hospitably for 3 days. In kindness and love—for strangers!— he invited these men into his home, not just until daybreak, but for 3 full days.

In a culture where taking people in was certainly more commonplace than it is today, something about the way these Maltan people went above and beyond what was expected stood out even to Paul. Their kindness was uncommon and extraordinary. And when the group finally left, the Maltans honored them greatly and supplied them with all they needed.

Sometimes hospitality goes beyond invitation. Sometimes it is simply a love that meets and exceeds real needs with peculiar and abnormal kindness.

But, meeting needs can involve a giving away of our time, space, and stuff. We will be asked to sacrifice. Extending true hospitality may not be convenient, expected, or even common, but as followers of Christ, we aren’t called to be common. We are called to unusual kindness and love.

Jesus said, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35, ESV).

It didn’t matter to the Maltans who those men from the ship were. They were a bunch of prisoners—people on the way to receive punishment for their crimes— but they were caught off guard, renewed and rescued with unusual kindness.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
– Titus 3:4-6

Unusual kindness indeed.

SRT-Hospitality_day6

Logan Wolfram is the Executive Director of Allume who most loves to write, connect, and encourage women. Daughter of a most extravagant and hospitable King, wife to Jeremy, and mother to 2 wild and inquisitive little boys, her days are filled with a combination of routine and plenty of the unexpected.

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  • “Sometimes hospitality goes beyond invitation.” Loved this devotion today! Needed this.

  • Deborah Nixon

    Beautiful, I realise I was being a ‘Martha’ today and this has realigned my priorities. Kindness often conflicts with convenience and our own agenda, but it is what we are called to and what God modelled for us. Thank you Jesus.

    • Melissa

      Wow! “Kindness often conflicts with convenience” hit me right where I needed i ittotoxay! Wiring that one down for sure!

  • Kenzie Caudill

    I love that this is a sign of our walk with Christ. Where other religions may be known for their strict nature or brutality, we as Christians have the opportunity to be known by our unusual kindness and love! We get to practice our love for Him thrift
    through the heart we share for others.

    • Allie M.

      You make such a beautiful and true point. Our faith is beautifully known by love and unusual kindness. What an amazing calling that we are to share our walk with Christ and reflect His image through this unusual kindness and not the following of rules or a perfect record. How unique our one true God is from all others, and how lovely He is indeed!!

  • April Rosalee Rodriguez

    Truly loved today’s message.

  • Anne Marie (ourstory99)

    We are called to be uncommon, to give away our time, possessions, and space, expecting nothing in return. Those words convicted my heart this morning. We are to give our best to those who can never repay us, that is true hospitality.

  • Meaghan T

    This was so convicting for me today. I just read a post on pride. Often I think to myself “I deserve to be treated better. ” When in reality I deserve to be treated worse but was spared punishment through Jesus. God shows welcoming kindness towards us even when we don’t show it back. I don’t want my hospitality to be dependent on how I’m going to be treated after.

  • Teri Lynne Underwood

    So good, Logan, and deeply convicting. The question I am now asking is “What do I need to get rid of so I have space in my life for unusual kindness?” It is easy to pack my calendar and my life with so much of the usual stuff that no room remains for the unusual. This is just another reason I believe margin and white space and rest are of inordinate value in our lives. Thank you for the challenge.

  • Brooke McGlothlin

    I once had a political argument with someone ;) and stated something like this: If Christians were all doing what Jesus told us to do (feeding the poor, giving to the needy, caring for the sick, and widowed, and orphaned, there would be no need for government assistance.

    I know this is a political piece, but it reminded me of that. Challenged me to remember my own words :)

  • I work in a homeless shelter and you would not believe the kind of impact is made on lives just when you meet or exceed a simple need. One little thing that you do for someone, one little ray of Christ’s light that you shine on another person can plant a seed that could grow into total life transformation. Don’t underestimate the power of your words and actions, and don’t grow weary in going out of your way to show the incredible, intentional love of God. He’ll use His faithful children to do great things, even if you don’t see it in the present.

    • Kysia Thornton

      Thank you so much for posting this encouragement! Pressing onward.

  • Cari Spaulding

    Hospitality, to some extent, comes naturally to me. I find joy in it. Though, I want show this “extraordinary and unusual kindness” to others so that they can look at me and say, wow, how is that possible? I want others to see what I do and realize that by my own strength it can’t be done. What a way to show Christ to others.

  • Kysia Thornton

    I’m chuckling to myself over this one. I was asked to do something that I wasn’t sure about this morning, but prayed and gave thanks for the opportunity. Haha! Glad I did. This would’ve been major conviction.

  • God has been speaking to me concerning one girl in my neighbourhood who has issues with her studies and I keep telling myself….I dnt have the time….After reading this….I am definitely going to look for her today and commit myself to helping her. Kindness even when it seems like we are taking on too much….that’s what God requires of us.

  • Kasey Tuggle

    Convicted! I need to show unusual kindness to all I come in contact with!! Everyone I come across I should treat them how I would treat Jesus!

    Love these two verses!!

    Jesus said, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35, ESV).

    “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” 
– Titus 3:4-6

    • Cari Spaulding

      It isn’t in our human nature to treat everyone like woe would Jesus, but that does need to be our goal! Well put.

  • I have been to St. Paul’s bay in Malta, it is a beautiful place and the Maltese people were very warm & welcoming. When reading this passage, I couldn’t help but picture myself there in those times. A powerful passage & lesson. Unusual kindness is something I need to work on with God’s grace.

  • Diana Anunda

    “Extending true hospitality may not be convenient, expected, or even common, but as followers of Christ, we aren’t called to be common. We are called to unusual kindness and love.” So convicting and so true!!

  • “Unusual kindness.” How many opportunities to display that kind of hospitality are around me each day?! I’m praying for spiritual, hospitable eyes to see and respond!

  • Caitlin Anderson

    So convicting! We have such an opportunity to love people and love them well, yet we very rarely do. Thank you for sharing these reminders of who we are called to be in Christ.

  • I love this message because God is setting guidelines for us to follow. To show unusual kindness is not a choice but what is expected of us from Jesus. We were created in the image of God, therefore we must act and walk as Jesus did. I continued to read about kindness and love in Titus. Titus 3:8 explains how this is a command of God, it states, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly…" As belivers of Christ we must be willing to share our time and space, even with strangers to fullfil this commandment. This is something I to need to work through because I do carry fear in my heart with letting others in, trusting. I ask of you all to pray for me to come to terms with this fear.

  • We are called to the uncommon. Loving strangers. Opening our home up. Giving of our limited resources to whoever may need it. Spending my time expressing unusual kindness. It is a tough calling: to give up myself for the sake of others. What I am starting to realize about hospitality is that it is humility. You love those that are less than you. You give away your time and your possessions and your efforts knowing that you will get nothing in return and you are actually okay with that. I might even dare to say that you are rejoicing in that fact. How much of myself do I need to lay down? Jesus says I must lay down my whole life. So here goes. Giving up every selfish desire to love in an unusual way.

  • Camille Alexandria

    I really liked this post today. Nowadays, you don’t see that type of overt and intentional hospitality. We are all so afraid of what terrible things can come from inviting strangers into our lives & rightfully so. This world is scary.

    As a college student, my most valuable commodity is my time. Hours stack up fast and before you know it, the day is over. But I know that I have to maintain and foster relationships here. I have to listen to people, pray for them. And that requires my time. Adding a few coffee dates to my schedule each week to let a friend know how much I care is a lot. And it means so much when people open up their schedules and just write you in it.

    Hospitality isn’t always cooking meals or giving people a place to stay. It can be spending an hour with someone instead of watching Netflix alone for a bit. Hospitality is giving your most valuable commodity without repute.

    • Katie

      Camille, you are so wise!! I am a college student as well, and I'm forever busy. So it's incredibly easy for me to get wrapped up in the thinking that any free time I have at all is "uninterrupted ME time." How selfish am I? I get easily frustrated when people disturb my "me time" and I often lose patience with whomever is "interrupting" me. I love how you said that "hospitality is giving your most valuable commodity WITHOUT REPUTE." Such a much-needed reality check for me, and I am encouraged by your words to not be so self-absorbed and selfish with my free time.

    • Sarah

      Wow… Thank you. That is exactly what I needed to hear. Praise the Lord for speaking thru you. Your words brought me to tears.

  • Meredith

    We are called to unusual kindness – so convicting! Today's devotion made me immediately think of how getting groceries at Wal Mart sometimes (ok, almost always) makes me want to lose my mind. The whole place sets me on edge and it is so easy to be short with the employees. I'm sure they pretty much get beaten down by customers all day and don't even expect kindness. I pray that my mindset and natural reaction to situations (at Wal Mart and beyond) will become unusual kindness.

  • Never thought of this section of scripture from this perspective. Excellent!

  • drshanwalks

    As I sit here soaking in the message I am struck by the word unusal. I am struck because what others see as unusual should be the norm for us believers. I have a young lady who lives with me that God ordained our meeting. We met at church and initially she was just me hair artist. As she continued to do my hair in my home our friendship grew. She would comment on how peaceful my house was and how comfortable she felt when there. She called me one day for help because her family had to move unexpectedly. My mother and I agreed to help. Little did we know that we would return to the house as 3. Months before my mother had bought stools for the house and said get an extra one for Crystal. We onky need 2, but I obeyed. That day moving my mother says God spoke to her to start cleaning and she did not kow why. So we go to help with the move and Crystal's plan for where she was supposed to move fell a part. The place she was supposed to go was so bad that even the homeless men we were paying to help us stated they would not live there. My mother looked at me and I just said yes. My mother told her to come stay with us. A month later my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I had no family where I lived and I had to work through her having major surgery and starting the process of chemo. Crystal became my support and helped me care for my mother. 3 years later, she still lives with us and we have an awesome bound. People do not understand our relationship and how she has a home even though I pay most of the bills for all 3 of us. People including her family actually say "that is not your home." That is not true. People focus too much on money. This is a her home just as much as it is mine and my mother's. It all started with simple acts of hospitality. I don't see these acts as unusual. The things is I have many stories throughout my life like this where we took someone in without hesitation. One of my school friends and her mother lived with us for a year and a half. This is showing God's love without hesitation. This is normal.

    Logan thank you for this beautiful devotion and showing me that my normal is ok. Thank you for giving me peace in ignoring all of those who don't understand my normal. Hospitality is a lifestyle just like love!

    • drshanwalks

      Oh and by the way the norm continues as my house becomes 4 tomorrow to assist another young lady. Thank you Lord for giving me the ability to help others without hesitation.

      • kesha

        drshanwalks…..that is wonderful keep showing Hospitality, God will continue to bless you

      • Carissa

        Love your story. It is encouraging to hear God use you in this way. I have taken people in, not always the best results. However, I believe that God will use that hospitality to draw these people to him. I needed this reminder today.

    • Chelsie Ann

      Love your story DrShanwalks! So encouraging & a beautiful picture of hospitality & of being the hands and feet of Jesus! Praising God for your faithfulness and obedience to The Lord.

  • Kendall_S

    convicted by a double standard that i've been fostering as i read about unusual kindness this morning….

    we have our house on the market right now which means i am managing three kids, three dogs, and 5 tadpoles (sheesh) all while trying to "keep up appearances" that our home is spit spot all the time. i have assumed the role of a regular mary poppins over here – schooling our kiddos, cleaning, cooking, etc…all in the name of keeping our house perfect for showings and potential buyers.

    what smacked me right between the eyes this morning was that while i'm working so tirelessly to show "unusual kindness" to potential buyers and those who will be viewing our home….along the way i've left a path of frustration, mean spirited words, poor examples, and just plain selfishness because everything has to be a certain way….and i've created this atmosphere right here in my home with the people that i love most.

    oh conviction! lord, forgive my misguided actions, forgive my words. help me to show unusual kindness and to start with those right here around me. thank you for your unending forgiveness and mercy. thank you for your grace. thank you for prompting me to go and repent to my family right now….

  • Thanking the ALL MIGHTY GOD for this message this morning, I find myself a lot lately thinking how I can be a help to someone then God spoke to me an said u are always helping other for nothing in return but I need you to start loving your enemies the ones who have hurt you to your very being….now that was a very hard one to swallow but I know that its all for the good so I have to put my big girl panties on ( as my mom would say ) an do what God says….be blessed on today ladies

  • Powerful, encouraging, and needed message for me. Thank you!

  • lindstiger

    Still processing here but I love that because the people of Malta were hospitable, it allowed for the Lord to heal many of their people. They opened their home and met needs, and God healed their sick through the Holy Spirit in Paul. Clearly the Lord values hospitality. He gave them what they so needed after they met the needs of his people. Thank you Lord, that we can learn this important character trait. Change our hearts Lord, make them tender, to be more like yours, filled with compassion and mercy for your people. Amen!

    • Rhonda

      Lindstiger–I am truly embracing your insight of the cause & effect relationship between Malta's willingness to be kind led to
      the healing of their people, followed by the provision of a ship and supplies for all 276 passengers.

  • This was a great message. It’s also very convicting because I know at times I could go out of my way to be a bit more kind and hospitable but can be selfish. This is truly making me look at hospitality in a different way.

  • Wonderful! Showing kindness with some type of judgement isn't easy. We only want to show kindness where we feel comfortable. Going outside of our comfort zone and showing kindness to someone we don't know or even know if they are wiling to accept the help you may offer can be hard. My prayer today is that I would be willing to step outside of my comfort zone and help someone and show the love that my Savior has showed to me.

    Have a blessed day friends…

  • Really powerful message, I loved it!

  • Unusual kindness…..just the words give me goosebumps….not your regular stuff, ..not your everyday stuff, …not even thought out stuff….Unusual

    I remember trimming my hedge one day over a summer, when I saw a woman coming towards my cuttings, which were going to be hard for her to negotiate…I quickly moved them for her to pass….but soon realised…she was struggling to walk….really struggling…I downed tools and walked towards her, and asked where she was going…she pointed to the surgery at the top of my road…I offered her a hand, an arm, if she would like….she said she would be fine….I asked where she had walked from…she said the bus stop at the other end of my road….a 5 min walk, but the way she struggled, it must have taken her a good 20 mins if not more….I asked how long her app was and told her I will be waiting outside in the car to take her home, which I found out was a couple of miles away…she thanked me, and we walked up the road…arm in arm…she told me she was due a hip operation, and couldn't wait, as she was in such pain….
    The amazing thing about this story is not that, I offered this lady an arm, or that I gave her a lift home, or that she felt at ease to talk to me and receive my gift of help….the amazing thing was I had no petrol in the car, had planned to get some next time I was out….the petrol station was in the opposite direction to the route the lady directed me to her home!!!! I had not thought of that, until I began the engine…..but you know what…I got her home and returned home, and then on to the petrol station…Amen….Thank you Lord God…
    A few weeks ago I was at a local women's conference….I was approached by a lady who walked with a stick, MY lady, who burst into tears when she got close enough to realise it was I who had given her a lift, and shown her love, that particular day, when she felt burdened with the pain and worry of the op to come……
    ……Unusual kindness, comes in all shapes and sizes. …..Sometimes it is simply a love that meets and exceeds real needs with peculiar and abnormal kindness…..
    Logan, thank you for the reminder that love can be shown in all acts of kindness…even in the unusual….

    My Sisters, sending love across the world to you all….Happy Saturday….Be unusual today!!!.xxx…

  • Philippa Brooks

    This was so interesting to me today. God has been bringing the word hospitality along my path so often these past weeks (one of the reasons I joined this study for the first time) Anyway, this week out in the jungle where we live (we are a missionary family in the Philippines) a lady in a little grass hut lived the truth of these words, to me and a group of ladies from the village where we live. We needed a place at the last minute for our weekly bible study, as the church was being used, and she instantly offered us all she had – hot water and space on a bamboo bench in her little home. All the words I had been studying, all the chapters I have been reading came full circle to a moment of clarity as I sat in her little house. When we see hospitality as a lifestyle rather than an event we are always prepared to serve, rather than burdened to present. I loved how Logan wrote: Sometimes hospitality goes beyond invitation. Sometimes it is simply a love that meets and exceeds real needs with peculiar and abnormal kindness.

    I witnessed this so humbly and generously through a quiet little lady (Miriam) this week out here in the jungle. We can learn so much from each other and from cultures all around the world. Hospitality is never limited to a place, a time or by our things. His Love is endless and we are His vessels. (Ps. I almost hesitate to write this on here, but I wrote up my experience this week on my little blog, if you ever want to read the full story.) Loving this study. Thank you!!

    • tina

      Phillippa….AMEN….and a big hug, love and blessings to you for what you are doing….but most especially to Miriam, who has warmed my heart and encouraged me more than she will ever know…..Thank you for sharing…xxx

    • Brandi

      Philippa,
      Thank you so much for sharing and for the humble invitation to you blog. I was drawn to it and it has been such a blessing yo me this morning. Although so many miles apart that invitation into your life was apparently just the hospitality that I needed. I have bounced all over you blog and read so many heartfelt inspiring stories. I pray that you will continue to be blessed. I'm glad to have known you this morning.
      Be blessed!

      • Philippa Brooks

        Brandi, thank you so much for your words of encouragement and for stopping by my little blog. I am enjoying this study so much. Greetings from the Philippines.

    • Angela

      "When we see hospitality as a lifestyle rather than an event we are always prepared to serve, rather than burdened to present." Absolutely love this! Thanks for sharing.

    • jerrahlee

      I love this, thanks for sharing!

    • Rhonda

      Lord, help me to like Miriam who gave of her time and space and showed unusual kindness and love. Philippa-God spoke through you with your words to remind us all that we should see hospitality as a lifestyle rather than an event. I am asking God to help me to be prepared to serve, rather than being burdened to present. To God be the glory.

  • love todays message- really spoke to me to go out of my way to show God’s love even when, especially when, it isn’t convenient!

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