Have you ever been to an open house? Maybe at a school, for a house being sold, or for a business. Thursday of this week was open house day for the counseling center where I work. It’s been a busy week around the office in preparation for it: cleaning the office, preparing snacks, preparing packets of information for those who come, getting door prizes ready, and finally open house day which for me began at 6:30 am with my other job at a daycare and ended with cleaning up from the open house which ended at seven.
Why do an open house? The host of the open house hopes for a payoff. Parents become more involved in school. A house is sold. A business grows. For the counseling center at which I work, the hoped for payoff is strengthened relationships with people, agencies, schools, and others in the community who can make referrals to the counseling center.
This got me thinking. Is my house an open house? Do I let people come and go freely? We have had several international students live at our house over the years. We host a life group. Young people come and go frequently.
Yet at the same time, we planned to have a neighborly open house when we first moved into our house to get to know our neighbors and nine years later it still hasn’t happened. And there are times when I want to come home, kick my feet up and just chill with only my family nearby (I am an introvert). Sometimes I would like a house with a moat. I guess I get a mixed review on this front.
Why have an open house policy? For a Christian the payoffs are big. Strengthened relationships in and out of the church. Opportunities to live God’s love. Open doors to spread the Gospel.
An open door life doesn’t begin and end with letting people in my home. It begins with an open door to my heart. Do I invite people into my heart? Am I a soft place to land for those who are hurting? Do I put aside my inner world to surround others with the love of Christ? (That one is hard for me as I am an extremely inner world person.) Does my heart rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep? Do I take the risk of being hurt in order to give of myself selflessly to others? (Another hard one for me as I have been hurt in the past and tend to protect my heart.)
I am motivated to open my house and my heart to others because I see this so beautifully in Jesus. He opened his heart to Jerusalem when he wept over her knowing she was faithless. He opened his heart to his disciples and was betrayed by one. And he opens his heart to love me even though I fail every day.
I pray that Jesus empowers me to have an open heart, open house, and open life.
In Christ’s love,