I am working my way through Rosaria Butterfield’s The Gospel Comes With A House Key, and it’s deeply inspiring (and convicting).
Culturally, hospitality is often defined solely by Martha Stewart-guided hosting or HGTV-inspired decor, but refreshingly, biblical hospitality is far deeper.
Butterfield’s theme throughout her book is ‘radically ordinary hospitality,’ a new vision to see your home as something that terminates on you and your desires, but “as God’s gift to use for the furtherance of his kingdom.”
Hospitality is making others feel like they matter. Hospitality is someone walking out your door feeling more loved and heard and cared for than when they walked in.
Hospitality, an arm of John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Like many other things in my life, this intention is one that will continually have room to expand and deepen. I’ll never arrive at being spectacular at hospitality, because there will always be someone I don’t know, a chance to listen to a friend or stranger, people to love well, and one of my personal favorites, we will always need to eat.
Hospitality is an adventure of life I haven’t taken by the horns, though it’s available to me every day.
When radically ordinary hospitality is lived out, members of God’s household are told that they are not alone in their struggles or their joys.
I had heart bits and pieces of Katherine’s story, enough to intrigue me. I purchased this book as an audiobook, and it was playing every single time I was in the car until I finished. Katherine and Jay are honest about their suffering, yet loud about the hope always to be had in Jesus. They truly invite the reader into this season of their life, and it left a mark on me. By far, one of my favorites is this:
“What has happened to me is extreme; however, it is not that different from what everyone deals with. I am a sort of microcosm for what we all feel. I can barely walk, even with a cane, but who feels free even if they can? My face is paralyzed, but who feels beautiful even when they look normal? I have no coordination in my right hand, so I can’t hold things, even my child, but who feels like a competent parent even if all their faculties are intact? For months I could not eat, and even today I have difficulty swallowing, but who feels fully satisfied even if they can enjoy every delectable treat they desire? I am tired almost all the time now, but who always feels energized to engage fully in their life? My voice is messed up, but who feels understood even if they can speak plainly? I have double vision, but who sees everything clearly even if they can see normally? My future is uncertain, but whose isn’t? …. I believe that pain is pain, no matter the form, but perspective is also perspective. Ultimately, ours is a story of a life overcome by hope. We are discovering joy even in the sadness and choosing contentment when it is very, very hard… We have learned that when everything else is gone, hope remains.”
We are all in this unpredictable, broken world where suffering is the norm, not the exception. Together we must stand, choosing to truth and hope in God even when it feels impossible. Their testimony will give you a new view on life’s challenges, great and small, as well as a deep love for our God of eternal hope.
And then God gave me insight: this was winter. It would end, in time, but not by my own doing. My responsibility was simply to know the season, and match my actions and inactions to it. It was to learn the slow hard discipline of waiting. It was my season to believe in spite of—to believe in the absence of evidence or emotion, when there’s nothing, no bud, no color, no light, no birdsong, to validate belief. It was my time to walk without sight.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.