There she was, sitting in a corner by herself.
As she aimlessly ruffled the pages of her science folder, her sweet face turned downward showing no expression. My heart tightened as I glanced around the room. Everywhere I looked girls giggled, moms chatted, and boys gobbled the remainders of pizza left over from our homeschool group’s party.
But she sat.
I scurried to her trying to make up for lost time, yet I knew that as the leader of her group and not a peer, it wasn’t quite the same.
We all have that young girl bottled up somewhere in us, and personally being involved with women’s ministry, I’m struck again and again how we wrestle with those feelings. It makes me wonder what would happen if we purposed in our heart to attack this very issue? Just how much could we change our culture if we would all make room for one more?
Imagine the ripple effect that would occur if we modeled a “make room for one more, just open the door” philosophy to our children, our extended family, even our co-workers.
What if each one of us who reads this post looks with intention over the course of the next three days and pinpoints one person to invite out for lunch, coffee, or even Easter dinner? Not someone we already know well, or have been meaning to get together with, but someone outside of our comfort zone of friends.
An invitation that only gives, not an invitation where we hope to receive.
He also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Over the last few years, our extended family has evoked the “Make Room for One More” philosophy at all our holiday gatherings. We’ve hosted international students, refugees, a remarkable woman without a home, a displaced single dad, and even many Islamic guests.
What wonderful memories we’ve shared with new friends of so many varying cultures, worldviews, and philosophies, all because we encouraged each other to make room for one more.
Initially, when we began this tradition, my knee-jerk reaction turned inward. My desire to share the holidays with just our special family, and not strangers, skewed my thinking. It was about my comfort, my traditions, and my idea of intimate hospitality. Oh, I am so glad the Holy Spirit convicted me of that selfishness or my family would have missed out on so much had we not just opened our door.
It’s in these little moments, these life-giving opportunities such as making room for one more, even when you don’t want to (1 Peter 4:9), when true community occurs. You may not know it then. You may not ever know the long-term outcome from your invitation. They may even say, “No,” but it matters. The invitation matters. The knowledge that your door will be open to them may be enough to lift their spirits.
I can already hear you wrestling with this challenge.
My home isn’t big enough.
Our finances are tight.
I’m already swamped trying to do the Easter meal for my own family.
No home is too small that one more can not be invited. Cozy is the new grand.
Will you make room for one more? Will you just open the door?
Someone you encounter this week is lonely. Someone doesn’t have a place to go for Easter. Honestly, it may be you, but you just might be the very conduit through which someone else meets Jesus for the first time. Take this opportunity to practice biblical hospitality and begin with that one invitation, that one open door. It just takes one to create that ripple effect.
Do life together. Do it well. Do it messy. Do it often, but do the hard thing and make room for one more.
If anyone can speak to hospitality on a budget, it’s Jen Schmidt. She knows that making room for one more doesn’t have to cost a lot. One of her most memorable moments of Spontaneous Hospitality was a root beer float party. Yep, that’s all she served and it was a delightfully, delicious time.
When it comes to hospitality, we look to Jen to guide us from her Biblically-grounded heart into hosting for His glory… which is why we are BEYOND EXCITED to tell you about the next book from (in)courage! Just Open The Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, by Jen Schmidt is a personal yes-you-can guide to offering the life-changing gift of invitation. Just Open the Door releases next month – preorder your copy today!