Text: Acts 15:6-21, Romans 12:3-8, Galatians 3:27-29
One evening last fall I was invited to a friend’s house to pray. The agenda was simple enough: eat snacks and mingle, settle in to spend time alone in prayer, then encourage each other.
I’m not always comfortable with group events, and nine times out of ten I’ll choose being home and quiet over a social gathering, especially on a weeknight. But this time I went. Mostly compelled by an opportunity to catch up with some friends and the possibility of a slice of cheesecake, I reassured myself that the tender-heart time wouldn’t last too long.
Several months later I cannot recall how the food tasted, or what shoes I wore, or how awkward I felt. But I clearly remember how the Lord used that gathering to soften my heart in a very specific way. That night, in the quiet of the solo prayer time, the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart just two words: make room.
In the days that followed, I considered the different ways I could make room: in my heart, on my calendar, in my home. I thought about who I could make room for: the new women moving to our burgeoning city, the people I know who need more than they have to offer, and the guy who definitely eased his way in front of me in line at the concession stand last weekend. But even before any of that, I can make room for my Lord, who promises me His presence whether I take time to be present with Him or not (John 14:16-17).
As I penciled down a list, I realized all the ways people had already made room for me:
Here is my time—it’s yours now.
Here is this meal—I want you to be nourished.
Here is my forgiveness—I know what a gift is to be forgiven.
Here is this space to sit—I’d rather you have rest than me.
Here I am entering into your sorrow—I was comfortable, but you need comfort more than me.
Even more extravagantly than the hospitality offered to me by others is that offered by the Father Himself:
I was an orphan—He called me His daughter (John 1:12).
I was a foreigner—He made me a citizen (Ephesians 2:19).
My sin made me unclean like a leper—He did not cast me out (Ephesians 2:13).
Hospitality, I am learning, is often untidy and almost always inconvenient. But making room is not about my own comfort. It’s about taking something I presume is mine, and offering it to someone else.
Jesus made room for everyone, for all types of people—neighbors, the poor, His betrayers, strangers, children, and so many more. It was a mark of His ministry: giving Himself and offering Himself to others and to the Father. Jesus made room because His is a gospel for all people. The Apostle Paul writes, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28). In the gospel, there is no “other”—there is only “us.”
By His grace, God makes us living testimonies of Christ’s life by this Truth: “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In being inconvenienced and uncomfortable and messy, we find a nearness with God—because Jesus was these things and more on our behalf. We are learning to make room for others because while we were still sinners, room was made for us.