Review written by Debra Ackmann

The Gospel Comes with a House Key, by Rosaria Butterfield, has been on my “to-read” list ever since a dear friend recommended it to me. Pastor Dale lent it to me along with a request that I write a review on it when I was finished. Here is my attempt to share how this book affected me.

            In one sense, this book was easy to read. In these pages and through the written word, Rosaria invites you into her home, her childhood, and into her redemption story. She shares story after story to paint a picture of what it looks like for her family to open their home in daily hospitality. She shares the good, the bad, the messy, and the practical ins and outs of loving others in such a way that “seeks to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors family of God.” Most of all she points to Christ and asks us to consider with her what it would look like if we really saw people, all people, even the hard-to-love people, as image bearers of a holy God.

  • What would it look like to live in a world where believers feared God more than men and served God more than our own comfort?
  • What would it look like for us to open our door and our dinner table and be a safe place for unbelievers to share their burdens?

            For all these reasons, and more, this book was also difficult to read. Painful even, but in the best way. With it comes a challenge and conviction to look at our own hearts. I’ll leave you with a quote from Rosaria and a hearty recommendation to read this book and pray with me that the Lord gives us all hearts for “radically ordinary hospitality,” not out of duty, or burden, but out of an unshakeable joy that comes from knowing Him and sharing Him. 

“Christian hospitality brings together the mystery of union with Christ and the fellowship of the saints to gather in close the stranger and the outcast and the chronically lonely. We make gospel bridges into our home because we notice the people around us and their needs. We see people whom God has put into our lives – especially the difficult ones – as image bearers of a Holy God and therefore deserving of our best. Hospitality is image-bearer driven, because Christ’s blood pumps me whole. It is not time, convenience, or calendar driven. If it were, none of it would happen. None of this grace would be mine to hold and to share. Hospitality requires daily Bible reading, deep repentance, dark mornings in solitude, and the daily willingness to forgive others whether or not they ask.”

Longing to grow in Him with you,

Debra Ackmann