Have you ever been blown away by a vision of what could be, challenged and inspired in a way that could upend your whole life? This book did that for me.
The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield casts a vision for radically ordinary hospitality. “Oh no!” you might be thinking. “Not another book about hospitality! My house isn’t up to snuff. I don’t have room. I can’t cook to save my life.”
This is NOT that type of book. This is not about hosting a dinner party with Pinterest level perfection; it’s about being the church in our communities and loving our neighbors with the love of Christ. In fact, Rosaria reminds us that, “Hospitality is necessary whether you have cat hair on the couch or not. People will die of chronic loneliness sooner than they will cat hair in the soup” (p111).
“The purpose of radically ordinary hospitality is to take the hand of a stranger and put it in the hand of the Savior, to bridge hostile worlds, and to add to the family of God” (p. 34). What a beautiful vision she sets forth! May we all catch it.
In this book, you will be welcomed into the Butterfield home and into their everyday hospitality. You’ll meet Hank, a dear friend who we learn is running a meth lab across the street and how God used their family in his life. You’ll see how the hardship of their home being robbed became an opportunity to invite many neighbors to gather around the table when life hurt. You’ll join them for Thanksgiving where many different people from many different walks of life and perspectives find a place where they belong.
You’ll also see the fruit of radically ordinary hospitality as you hear Rosaria’s story and how one family loving her well, completely changed her life, and brought her to know the Savior.
She casts an inspiring vision, but she also challenges us: “Do Christian people practice Christian hospitality in regular, ordinary, consistent ways? Or do we think our homes too precious for criminals and outcasts? Our homes are not our castles. Indeed they are not even ours” (p. 100). Ouch! This home isn’t even mine? Indeed not. She prays for us that we will stop being afraid of strangers, even when some strangers are dangerous (p. 14)! It is a high calling she lays before us, but it’s the same one Christ calls us to. Even if your home is in a neighborhood far different from the Butterfields’, the call is to die to ourselves in order to make strangers neighbors and neighbors family, ultimately the family of God.
All around us, there are people who long to be included. Rosaria shares from Psalm 68:6 that “God promises to put the lonely in families” (p. 37). Perhaps your family is right where God is going to plant the lonely people he loves. If you want to be inspired to love people more for the glory of God and gain vision for what that could look like for you exactly where you are, I highly recommend this book.