I’m not always comfortable with group events, and nine times out of 10 I’ll choose being home and quiet over a social gathering. Party of one? Yes please. I’m a fan of the solo-game. Even when I was living with friends who frequently opened their doors to friends, I would choose the solace of my own room.
Even just a couple years later, though, I remember the nights I said yes more than the nights I chose to shut the door. Not because something awe-inspiring happened on those nights. Not because someone forced me out of my comfort zone. But because I chose community over singularity.
Sometimes we have to go. Sometimes we have to push the boundaries. Sometimes those boundaries are the flight of stairs between your room and the living room. Sometimes those boundaries are a flight across country. Sometimes those boundaries are the small spaces between you and them.
Jesus leads the way.
Jesus already made room for us. He pulled up a chair and he pulled us in close. Despite what the world would tell us makes us unworthy. Despite the reasons why we may otherwise be told that we are unwelcome here.
I was an orphan—He called me his daughter (John 1:12). I was a foreigner—He made me a citizen (Eph. 2:19). My sin made me unclean like a leper—He did not cast me out (Eph. 2:13).
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. He made room because his is a gospel for all people. Will we follow and make room? Will we follow and accept the chair pulled out for us?
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” (Gal. 3:27-28).
In the gospel, there is no “other”—there is only “us.”
Make room at your table.
Our culture is losing the art of hospitality in its truest sense. Hospitality isn’t about showing off your skills or wealth to people who might be impressed by those things. It is literally about making a traveler welcome, making a stranger feel like a friend. I have encountered people who do exactly what Jesus warns against: laying out an elaborate spread and inviting people who have the palate to really appreciate it and the ability to “pay them back” with a similar invitation a few weeks later. Shoot, I am guilty of being a Martha on many occasions. This is pride, not making room.
We live in a culture that begs to point out differences and all the reasons why others can’t sit with us. As Christians, we are called to push those ideals and break the molds of who can and cannot sit with us. There is no measure of who is worthy for a spot at our table. As we have already witnessed, Jesus made room for the least of the least. He made room for the unlikely. He made room for us. We are called to follow.
This means not only do we choose community over singularity, but we pull up extra chairs to the table and pull each other in tight. Sometimes we will be the ones making the room, and other times we will be the ones accepting the seat. Either way, we are called to live a life that embodies the belief that there is always enough room.
“We are learning to make room for others because while we were still sinners, room was made for us.” – Raechel Myers
Always make room at your table (in your heart) for more people. Walk down the road. Fly across the country. Deliver a meal to a neighbor. Say cheers over good coffee. Send a letter to a grieving friend. Stand in front of an avocado graffiti wall. God made your heart big enough for more, more, more. Fill that space with people. Near or far, there is room at your table.