For a long time, I fought the urge to just open the door and invite people into our home. I thought our home was clean enough, well decorated enough, my kids were too young, too loud, too messy.
I thought opening the door to others was about creating a beautiful, delicious meals with a perfectly decorated table, china and candlelight.
Since I couldn’t do those things, I didn’t think I was capable of entertaining.
And I wasn’t.
Because at the core, entertaining is about putting on a show.
Hospitality is a whole different concept.
Hospitality isn’t about showing off. Hospitality isn’t about making yourself look good, it’s about making your guests feel welcome and honored.
As Christians, we are called multiple times in the New Testament to hospitality. Romans 12:13 calls us to “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” But it’s 1 Peter 4:9 that really hits me hard, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
I’m a grumbler….especially when I feel put out of my way, put out of my agenda, when my plans don’t line up with others people’s, when what I want to cook isn’t in my guests eating plan.
Do you see what’s the common thread with those grumbling thoughts?
And in those thoughts is revealed the lie that hospitality is about me at all.
What I love most about Just Open the Door is that it drives the point home that I have believed a lie about hospitality. It isn’t about me a bit. It is about my guests, and providing them a safe place to rest, to relax, to be rejuvenated, to be loved, to be appreciated, to be seen.
No more, no less.
When we use our loves exactly as they are, desiring only to create a sacred space for our guests, mixing it with the countercultural truth of loving Jesus and loving others, we turn entertaining upside down, and it become radical hospitality. (pg.9)
That, friends, is my desire.
Just Open the Door Living
In the book, Jen offers practical ways to open the door to others. Each chapter ends with ‘Elevate the Ordinary’…..creative yet practical ways to incorporate hospitality in your life. She also includes a letter from a reader at the end of each chapter and her response to her. Jen’s love for her readers is evidenced by the way she makes them feel at home with her online.
Just Open the Door isn’t written from a pedestal looking down. Jen is relatable, honest, and encouraging. Her message to just open the door is coming from a place of, ‘I’ve been there too, you can do this!’ instead of preaching to her readers. Jen has lived lean years, which she discusses in the book. She has lived busy years with young kids, busy years of kids in sports, heck…just having 5 kids means she is one busy woman!!! But she always made a way to invite one more person in. And seeing how this message has influenced her children is both encouraging and convicting.
I have tried to live the ‘there’s always room for one more’ life, but I often struggle with my own selfishness and desire for peace and calm. And when well-meaning hospitality has turned ugly it’s caused me to be even more hesitant to open our home to others. Those selfish feelings have held me back from flinging open the door and welcoming people in. But after reading Just Open the Door, I am refreshed and renewed to start inviting people into my home and see how it can change a generation.
Friends..this is a book you need to read. I promise!
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Melissa, this is so good!! Thank you for sharing your heart in this review. I’ll be praying for your heart to grow in a desire to obey Jesus in practicing hospitality!
Melissa Mulvaney says
Thank you so much Virginia for your sweet words and prayers!