What better place to live a welcoming life than in our homes? A welcoming life is a hospitable life. In The Gospel Comes with a House Key, Rosaria Butterfield helps us understand what she means by “radically ordinary hospitality.” It’s what she believes God intends for the daily use of our homes as we share the reality of Christ with others in word and deed.
Some of the points she makes in her book:
When other people are in your home, be transparent – no pretending. (Note: We’re being sanctified and that’s a rough process others can witness.) That removes a lot of stress. Pretending cancels enjoyment. It takes energy and blocks genuine interaction.
We build community when we welcome others and facilitate gathering.
Living in community is life-saving. Sin desires isolation. To know you live in a neighborhood where someone cares about you, is life-giving. For someone to know he or she is expected, needed, wanted at your house can provide purpose, hope, even godly escape.
People come to know they are accepted and welcomed anytime. Jesus is the motivation for our hospitality so current events and politics are not barriers to friendship.
“Reasons” to procrastinate
I’m an introvert. So is the author. Because people drain her, she gets up early to spend time alone. “Knowing your personality and your sensitivities does not excuse you from ministry. It means that you need to prepare for it differently than others might.”
I lack space, food, dishes “Hospitality shares what there is; that’s all.” Or, if you have too much, “Kill your idols.”
I don’t have time. Radical ordinary hospitality requires margin so “regular routines can be disrupted but not destroyed.”
What about protecting my children? Our children get to see us demonstrate the love of Christ in practical ways. As others come to trust us, our children learn they can trust us with their tough problems. “They see how serious the enemy is and how powerful Jesus is.”
Start with your interests. One woman began a craft and scripture memory group for neighborhood children that grew to include moms for Bible study, babysitting, and grocery shopping.
Cover the basics, forget fancy. Butterfield’s regular menu is beans, rice, vegetables, bread, maybe chicken. Sometimes others pitch in. Dishes, chairs, do not match. Neighbors of all ages, please come.
Seize an opportunity. When snow cancels church, Butterfields host a worship service. One neighbor told Rosaria that after a service, she saw three tables set, ready for everybody. She said she’d never felt so loved in all her life.
“We trust God’s power more than we trust our limitations.” That enables the Butterfields to provide radical ordinary hospitality that opens heart doors. It speaks the gospel in deed and paves the way for words.
What would be radical hospitality for you? What limitation can you entrust to God?