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!Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Yes and amen!
People just want to be seen and loved. They’re not looking for perfection in us or our homes. Thanks for this encouragement to fling the door open wide by faith.
Jen @beautyandbedlam.com says
We can fling them wide open together, Michele. 🙂 xoxox
Thank you so much for this today. I was always the odd one out at work. Everybody was ordering lunch from the menu, but I was never asked. Also at home, I am usually by myself on holidays. Friends are always with their families. You never know what one invite means to a person .
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So true….what if to every holiday dinner, we added just one more; to every invitation to study the Bible, we added just one more; to every back yard BBQ, we added just one more, to every party, coffee, birthday party, you name it, we added just one more? The “one more’s” add up. This post really challenges me to reach out beyond my comfort zone….in other words, don’t invite the usual people. Instead, take a leap of faith and invite those who challenge us a little and get us outside our homogeneous comfort zone. Thank you for a very poignant post and congrats, Jen, on the upcoming launch of your book!!
Hattie Damon says
This encouragement is my heart ❤️ wrapped up in one post. Thank you for this timeless, provoking message.
Congrats on your book. Will be looking for it…
Jen @beautyandbedlam.com says
Thank you so much, Hattie. I’m glad we’re journey this together. 🙂
Jen @beautyandbedlam.com says
You’re so welcome and you are spot on with your encouragement, Bev!! Thank you for walking this road of welcome with us.
WOW! This is a really good reminder and lesson. It’s so true that we make excuses why we can’t, when in reality, it’s selfishness. Thank you for this!
Jen @beautyandbedlam.com says
You’re so welcome, MaryMargaret. It’s hard to voice that, but pride is often what it comes down to, doesn’t it? xoxo
What a beautiful post! This made my day, and I cannot wait to begin adding one more no matter the occasion. <
Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow! <
Rebecca Jones says
It is nice to be able to have people to dinner and neighbors with the bbq, looking forward to spring.
Oh, this looks like a wonderful book! Can’t wait to read. I feel like this will be a perfect one to add to my summer-reading-on-the-porch agenda. 🙂 Congrats, Jen. 🙂
Thank-you for the wonderful post to start off a fresh new month, and for reminding us, that when we open our door, (“to make room for one more”), we are also opening our hearts.
1 Peter 3.8.
Blessings to all,
Congratulations on your book, it looks amazing.
Cyndi Carter says
Wonderful words! You are so right. Showing love to and including the overlooked and lonely is at the heart of the Gospel.
Beth Williams says
You sound just like my pastor & his wife. Each holiday they invite those of us in the church who don’t have a plans. They also include a single friend they are trying to get to Jesus. When we all get there we bring food to share & loving hearts. I have been the “one more” on some occasions. We all want to be needed & wanted-especially at holidays. You can also invite foreign college students. They have no one & are definitely lonely at holidays. What a wealth of information you can learn from them. Let’s just open our doors & invite one more!
Courtney Coker says
I am so glad I read this post! Thank you for sharing, Jen! Hospitality does not have to be an extravagant meal, but it happens through just asking one person, just one, to come to the table. I love this! 🙂 Let’s start making space.
Janet Groat says
I grew up in a family that had an open door policy. We usually had “extra” people at our table. We never knew how many would show up, but always welcomed whomever did. That has continued on in our current home. We have opened our doors and have even had “extra” people staying with us on a regular basis (some for a few weeks or months, some for as much as 5 years). They are all welcome and see them all as family. Has it been easy? No, not at all, but God has always faithfully provided what has been needed. It has been a blessing beyond belief.
Beautiful story! Our church mission is, “As long as there is one more who needs the love of Christ, our mission is not complete”… And so I had invited to our church this Sunday, my best friend husband. She passed away this January and although our whole family had mixed feelings towards him, I knew if that was me, I would had wanted someone to love on me even if I am not deserving of it. He is not an Christian and she had never invited him to church for whatever fear she felt he will give her. I know that we are called to love and I pray that this Sunday, he will see a glimmer of God’s love for him. Thanks so much for sharing.
At 54 you would think by now I would not feel the hurt of people never including me. The seats next to me are always empty. I don’t smell. Is it my confidence or my appearance? Whether at church service or meeting including bible studies. Only when there are no seats left do they sit next to me. Making Christian Women’s Friendships are worse. So I decided the Holy Spirit sits next to me. But the isolation still hurts.