Intentional Hospitality

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By Josh Hughes

“God calls us to practice hospitality as a daily way of life, not as an occasional activity when time and finance allow. Radically ordinary hospitality means this: God promises to put the lonely in families (Ps. 68:6), and he intends to use your house as living proof.” 

This quote comes from Rosaria Butterfield’s latest book entitled, “The Gospel Comes with a House Key.” This book is - to be frank - all up in my business (in the best possible way). Simply stated, Butterfield’s thesis is that for a post-Christian culture that is skeptical of the Church, hospitality is an essential component of an authentic witness to who Jesus is. She boldly calls upon Christians to make sacrifices to know their neighbors, and to prioritize the meaningful and costly extension of the love of Jesus through table fellowship and intentional friendship.

We adorn the gospel and lend valuable credibility to our witness when our lives demonstrate the reality of our message. In a particularly compelling paragraph, Butterfield says that “In post- Christian communities, your words can be only as strong as your relationships. Your best weapon is an open door, a set table, a fresh pot of coffee, and a box of Kleenex…”

We’re busy people, it’s true. But we must remember that we are also sent people. The blessings of the gospel are given to us for our enjoyment - but also so that they might overflow to those around us. Our proclamation of the gospel is most powerful when it is coupled with our demonstration of the gospel as we cultivate friendship and hospitality toward those who are are in closest to proximity to us.

The book has been a challenging read, and it’s forced me to ask some hard questions about my priorities. I’ve been compelled by the example of Yaacov and Erin Petscher, who have been opening their home weekly to their neighbors and co-workers to share table fellowship. As Katie and I are thinking through our rhythms for this summer, we’re feeling impressed by the Lord to make more room for those who are close to us and far from Jesus.

Debbie TanisComment