"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."
-- 1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)
As the dark clouds loomed overhead, my friend realized the storm warnings for her neighborhood were more than predictions. She voiced concern when she heard damaging tornadoes were in the forecast as well.
Many years had come and gone without a trace of a twister in their town. But as the torrential rains poured down and the winds blew fiercely, tree limbs and debris started falling and fears started rising.
Within a half-hour, streetlights dangled from the tops of their posts. Power lines lay on the rain-soaked ground. Rooftops were tattered and torn off. Hearts were heavy as people realized the damage storm winds had brought to the modest town.
Power outages were apparent as the sweltering heat soon replaced the comfort of the air-conditioned buildings. My friend's husband started a small generator they had on hand. Running her fan for fresh air and to keep her food from spoiling were among her many concerns.
Several days went by without the electricity being restored. My friend watched from her window as the crews worked around the clock to replace fallen power lines.
As days went by, concerns for her neighbors grew. How could they afford to travel to the other side of town and pay for the cost of three meals a day for a family consisting of several members?
Many neighbors thought of utilizing their charcoal grills, but their use was forbidden due to potential fire hazards. However, my friend realized her gas grill wouldn't be a problem.
Spirits rose as she invited neighbors for a cookout. Between what she could provide and what others pitched in, there was plenty of food for everyone. As meat sizzled on the grill, various aromas filled the air. It was a great time of fellowship -- like an old fashioned block party.
A bad situation turned out for the better, simply because a bit of hospitality was offered. When God expressed for us to offer hospitality, he knew the many ways it could be utilized. When difficulties arise, we can place our grumbling aside and take a moment to offer hospitality in ways big or small to someone in need.
• Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, speaker, life coach, and nurse. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is available to speak at events or be your personal coach.