THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE:
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes! 1 Peter 4:7-11 (MSG)
THOUGHTS FROM KYLE:
It’s cliché to ask, but if you knew that the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do? That is the question that Peter is essentially answering in this passage. He is telling these believers in Asia Minor, many of whom were Jews, away from their homes, being persecuted for believing in Christ, that life as they know it will be gone quicker than they realize. He is saying no matter their current circumstances, don’t forget the task at hand! Even though it has been 2000 years since that letter was written, one thing is still true of us all. Life goes by FAST and we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. With that in mind, there are three thoughts I want to discuss from this passage that I think will help us not take anything for granted.
The first thing Peter says is to stay wide awake in prayer. God wants us to be alert and clear-minded when we pray. This is a lesson Peter learned the hard way. In Matthew 26, Peter was one of the disciples who couldn’t even stay awake to pray when Jesus asked him to. The lesson that he had to learn, and what we need to know too, is that prayer is a privilege that is not to be taken lightly. It provides us with a direct connection with God and gives us hope to know that He hears us and uses our prayers to achieve His purpose. When we learn the power of being alert in God’s presence and praying big prayers, we see big results in our lives.
The second takeaway from this passage is found in verse 8 where Peter says, that more than anything else, love as if your life depends on it. The Greek word used for love in this passage is ektenēs which means “with full intensity.” It can even be translated as “at full stretch.” We live in a cancel culture. Everyone “loves” everyone until there is a mistake made or an old tweet dug up. One mistake, and you are done and there is no coming back. Love is only given until it is uncomfortable. But as Christians, our love is supposed to be different from that. We are supposed to be completely stretched out in love. It’s messy and uncomfortable, but our love for others is to mimic the love we receive from Christ. Forgiving others, being patient, showing kindness, even when those things aren’t reciprocated. So when disagreement and conflict arise, love doesn’t “cancel” people even when they are wrong, but instead like the passage says, “Love makes up for practically everything.” Everything. Let that sink in.
The final thing Peter encourages these believers to engage in is hospitality. He encourages them to look for ways to be generous with the gifts God has given them. One translation of verse 9 says, “Be compassionate to foreigners without complaining.” Remember, Peter was writing to Jewish believers in a foreign land. It’s ironic that he is telling his readers to be compassionate to foreigners when they themselves are experiencing what it’s like to be foreigners in Asia. Every day they were surrounded by people who didn’t look like them, talk like them, or believe what they believed. Yet, Peter is telling them to look for opportunity to be hospitable to them. He knew that, despite persecution, if his readers would share the gifts that God had placed on their lives, people would see Jesus at work through them. The same is true for you and me today.
Let’s agree together that we won’t take even one day for granted when it comes to sharing all that God has given us through His incredible grace. Let’s be diligent in prayer and seeking after His presence. Let’s be so stretched out in love toward others that people can’t deny His love for them. And let’s be so generous with everything we have, everything we do, and everything we say that people may encounter the true source of hope, joy, peace, and life.