Radical Hospitality

A Book Review of Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt

The word hospitality gets tossed around like a squishy baby in a room full of women. However, do we really have a true understanding of what Biblical hospitality truly is? In her book, Just Open the Door, Jen Schmidt describes hospital in this way: “Hospitality, unlike entertaining, treats everyone as a guest of honor rather than grasping at honor for yourself. Opening your door has nothing to do with the actual setting, the guest list, or the food The atmosphere can be exactly the same yet have very different results based on the heart attitude of the one who welcomes.” (Just Open the Door page 8) When we have people in our homes it can be hospitality, when we talk with someone on the street or in the halls of church it can be hospitality. Hospitality doesn’t have to be limited to the department of church that plates up cookies and brews coffee. Hospitality is a heart attitude; one that says “You are welcome here in my home, in my heart, and I want to know you!” We can demonstrate this hospitality no matter where we are.

I think it’s interesting that at the basis of the word hospitality is the word hospital. When we invite people into our lives and we open our hearts to them, we are like a hospital of sorts… not only for our hearts but for theirs. When we take time to know and love people healing can happen. We are called into community. Hospitality is a community builder. Christ gathered and invited people into his circle and we are called to do the same. We get to gather and love on each other.

An important question we need to ask ourselves is “Why do we open the door to others?” Is it for me or for them? We can serve Christ by loving and serving others. Another important question to ask yourself is “Whose life are you leaving a mark on?” and “Who is leaving a mark on yours?” Hospitality doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect. It’s all about the mark being left on each others lives. Not what they think of our fabulous pinterest worthy decorations and whether our home is spotless.

Just Open the Door does a fabulous job of describing what true Biblical Hospitality is and what it isn’t. The author is so relatable and funny! She tells of her own journey towards true hospitality in a way that invites the reader in on her journey and encourages them to want to take the plunge. She tells of the emotions and struggles involved, the insecurities of inviting people over last minute with no time to clean, and the joys all these encounters brought to her life. I love the Elevate the Ordinary sections full of practical application and ideas! The Dear Jen sections ask common questions everyone wants to ask but might be too afraid, and answers them in a graceful authentic way. The chapters are short and easy to read. I found myself underlining, laughing, and saying “huh! that’s so true! Never thought of it that way!” over and over. This is a well thought out book that is so applicable and necessary. I would highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from Lifeway in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated here are my own.

You can find a copy of the book here as well as a copy of the study guide.


For more information about Jen Schmidt, free resources and ideas for all things check out her blog at http://beautyandbedlam.com or her facebook page http://www.facebook.com/beautyandbedlam

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