The Beauty of True Hospitality
In The Gospel Comes with a House Key Rosaria Butterfield writes compellingly, calling Christians to take action in practicing radically ordinary hospitality “to bring glory to God, serve others and to live out the gospel in word and deed” (31). Butterfield describes radically ordinary hospitality as, “using your Christian home in a daily way that seeks to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors family of God.” (31) This book has completely changed my view of what it means to extend hospitality, it has provided me with a Christ-centered perspective of hospitality that I was lacking before, and it has shown me the importance of hospitality.
Butterfield points to God’s promise to put those who are lonely in families and the role we are called to play in that as the body of Christ (Ps. 68:6; 1 Cor. 12:12, 27). Rosaria and her family offer hospitality to others by opening their home to their church family on a daily basis, specifically seeking out single women in their church community. The Butterfields do this because they see fellow believers as their family in Christ, therefore, they want to share one another’s burdens and strengthen the family of God (Gal. 6:2; Rom. 12:13). They practice this transformative hospitality because they remember what it feels like to be lonely. They know that sin loves isolation, and they remember the feeling of inclusion that being invited into the lives of others brings.
While reading Butterfield’s accounts of what hospitality has looked like in her home, I had to stop and ask myself: do you see the body of Christ as your family? To be honest, I have picked only a handful of Christians who I have called close friends to treat as family. I have not sought to extend hospitality (“defined as the love of the stranger”) to strangers, but only to those with whom I had already built relationships. Through the fears that come along with pursuing strangers, I must remember that I, too, was once a stranger. But through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and my faith in Him I am now called a daughter! Christ is the example of genuine, sa