I remember my mother talking about another young couple in the same congregation who understood the word exactly as they did. After a Sunday evening service, my mother would look at the woman and say, "Well, I have a dozen eggs." The woman would look back at her and say, "I have a loaf of bread." Then that couple would come to our house and we would all eat scrambled eggs and toast. And nothing else, because that is all we had. Yet they did this again and again and their relationship became closer and closer because of it.
I can imagine that some are thinking, "How awful! I would never invite someone over for scrambled eggs and toast and nothing else." And that means they do not understand the reason for all those hospitality commands in the New Testament. As those two young couples learned: it's not about fancy meals and beautiful accommodations—it's about being together.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-47). One of the reasons the early church grew and became as close as blood relatives was that they were together as much as possible, not just in their worship, but also in the homes, "day by day."
I presented this once at a women's gathering and it was immediately objected to. "That's not what we do these days," a woman said, meaning it is no longer a pleasant little custom to stop by and see one another in the evenings during the week, or even have someone over for an impromptu Sunday evening supper. Well, guess what? It wasn't a custom in the Roman Empire either. Why do you think those commands are scattered through so many books in the New Testament? Those people had to learn to do it, and they did because that is what they were told to do, and what they ultimately discovered would make the church what God intended it to be, and it did.
Many years ago we had a dismal week that left us near to despair in our work with a particular congregation. A couple there took it upon themselves to drop by to cheer us up. Because of my mother's influence, I simply had to offer them something. I had baked ginger cookies (we couldn't afford chocolate chips) the day before to put in the boys' cookie jar, and Keith is a master popcorn popper, the old-fashioned way, on the stove-top with bacon drippings. That is what we offered them—ginger cookies and popcorn, and we sat there stuffing our faces while the gloom melted from our hearts like sun on the morning fog--for at least a little while. That is what hospitality among brethren is all about.
This week, find someone with a loaf of bread and offer them some scrambled eggs to go along with it. It may not be haute cuisine ("high cooking"), but it will certainly lift your spirits higher, and who knows what other good may come of it? After all, it was God's idea in the first place.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality (Rom 12:13).
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1Pet 4:8-9).
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us (Acts 16:14-15).