Published by Good Book Company on April 1, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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How to offer Christian hospitality without becoming exhausted and overburdened.
Generous hospitality is a significant way in which God works through our lives to bring life to others, yet many of us feel ill-equipped and overwhelmed at the prospect, especially if we don’t have big houses and we are not wonderful cooks!
Carolyn Lacey encourages us to focus on the goal of hospitality, which is to reflect God’s welcoming heart, and shows us how we can all do that, regardless of our bank balance or living situation.
She explores seven ways in which we can reflect God’s character in the way we welcome others into our homes and into our lives, and so point people ultimately to Christ.
This practical and realistic book explores how to make generous hospitality part of everyday life without becoming exhausted and overburdened.
In this concise, well-organized guide to Christian hospitality, Carolyn Lacey encourages her readers to step outside of their comfort zones and welcome other people into their homes and lives. She writes about the biblical basis for hospitality and the importance of loving all of our neighbors, not just our personal friends or the people who can obviously bless us in return. She encourages her readers to be humble and persistent, and includes great chapters on the importance of being inclusive and listening to people to learn their true needs instead of making assumptions. Lacey addresses heart issues and practical concerns throughout the book, and shows that someone doesn’t have to be an extrovert or a great entertainer to extend heartfelt hospitality to their church family, their neighbors, and lonely people in their communities.
Lacey also briefly addresses the importance of setting healthy boundaries. Even though she encourages people to not give up or write off people as hopeless cases, she makes it clear that it is right to remove oneself from an abusive or unhealthy relationship. She emphasizes that distancing yourself from someone can call them to repentance, and that holding someone accountable to the consequences of their actions is the loving response here. However, I would have appreciated it if she had included specific advice related to protecting children from potential sexual abuse, especially when a guest is temporarily living with a family. Hospitality books rarely address concerns like this, and I wish that Lacey had brought up suggestions for how parents can establish boundaries and practical parameters to prevent abuse.
Extraordinary Hospitality (for Ordinary People) is short and readable, and it is full of practical and spiritual advice for people with any hospitality background or experience. Those who are already welcoming others into their lives will find new insights and encouragements here, and those who feel resistant, or aren’t sure where to start, will benefit from this book’s vision and guidance. Lacey also writes to a variety of age ranges and life experiences, and doesn’t assume that all of her readers are married, have children, or own their own home. Lacey acknowledges the limitations that people in rental or rooming situations often experience with hospitality, and shares practical advice for all of these different situations. This is unique for many hospitality books, and makes the book accessible and relevant to teenagers and up.