To Make Room

by Sarah Oshinowo

Many years ago, after graduating college, I worked as a nanny and dog-sitter for a wealthy family living in a 5-story mansion on the Gold Coast in downtown Chicago. Needless to say, it was beautiful: dozens of TVs, in-suite bathrooms in every bedroom, closets the size of bedrooms, floor-to-ceiling artwork, an authentic zebra rug, a total home gym and theater, front and rear staircases, and, of course, an elevator from top to bottom floors. With a full-time housemaid, the house was always spotless! But one fact has boggled my mind all these years: in that vast, luxurious home, there was not one guestroom. I could not understand why, with all that wealth, nothing in the home prioritized intentional hospitality for friends or family.

In Tyrone’s sermon recently, we were exhorted “to make room.” The Oxford Dictionary defines this phrase: ”to move aside or move something aside to allow someone to enter or pass, or to clear space for something.” 

We “make room” every day when we make choices to intentionally set aside or clear the space of a lesser thing to welcome or replace it with what we deem more important. We clear our calendar and fill it with coffee with a friend, work meetings, phone calls, chores, kid sports, social engagements, and errands. We clear the table to sit down for dinner together. We put down our coffee to help a toddler get dressed. We turn off our phones to listen to a teenager open their heart. We tidy our homes to make room for guests. Jeff even tells the funny story of a mom who welcomed him and others into her home, then used a garden rake to clear the living room floor covered in toys to make room for them to sit comfortably!

We typically take the action of “making room” because there is a planned or sudden shift of priorities and values. This choice may even require self-sacrifice, obedience, devotion, submission, or love, but it’s all done purposefully. As we are encouraged this week to get our “households in order,” how are we “making room” for Jesus in the context of the riches we have been given? We may or may not have a luxurious home like I described above, but what riches DO we have, both in the spiritual and the natural?

  • Homes
  • Health
  • Finances
  • Time
  • Marriages
  • Singleness
  • Children
  • Jobs
  • Education
  • Spiritual gifts
  • Talents

How are we “making room” for the Spirit to fill us and utilize these riches for His glory and our good in our current season? The wealth of the family I worked for (who were unbelievers) was stewarded in whatever way they pleased. As disciples of Jesus, our riches are not primarily intended for personal satisfaction, longevity, comfort, social status, or living our best life (though we may experience some related blessings). Everything on the list above belongs to Jesus and has been entrusted to us for a time, as we are under His loving Kingship and care. If we listen and then walk out His instructions about how to steward the riches we’ve been given, we will experience the blessing of it (James 1:23-25), as well as more of the fullness of Jesus in our lives (John 10:10). 

However, as in the Gold Coast mansion, how can He fill us if we are already full of so many other things? We must ask Him to clear the clutter of ungodly and unhealthy habits, mindsets, and even bondage. In my life, the Refiner’s Fire came against saying “yes” to everything and everyone. Too many physical belongings. Fear of man and circumstances. Unforgiveness. Overspending/Debt. Spiritual bondage. Believing lies about myself, God, and others. Distractions of social media. Savior mentality. Tending to children more than to marriage. Unhealthy professional ambition. Prioritizing the cares of this life over the quiet place with Jesus. The list goes on and is a work in progress! But being “shaken” in my life (Hebrews 12:27-28), getting free and emptied of these things is bringing me much joy and freedom, and by God’s grace, more of Jesus’ Kingdom purposes along the way.

This weekend, and in 2024, let’s “make room” for more of God and His purposes (Matthew 6:33). Fasting has been one tangible step in the right direction: stewarding the riches of our spirits and our bodies as unto the Lord because we KNOW that it is valuable, probably more valuable than we will ever realize this side of heaven. In what other area of your riches might the Spirit be prompting you “to make room” for Him?

“Search me, God, and know my heart;
 test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
 and lead me in the way everlasting.”
~Psalm 139:23-24