Monday, April 26, 2010

Open the Door!

Have you ever tried to save yourself multiple trips and had your arms loaded with groceries, finding yourself unable to grasp the doorknob or slip a key into the lock in order to let yourself into the house?  The items you are carrying are heavy, your arms become weary from bearing them and they begin to shift and threaten to spill from the bags onto the stoop below.  A family member is somewhere inside the house and you begin yelling and kicking the door in hopes he or she will hear you.  Visions of broken jars, dented cans, and two dozen cracked or broken eggs cause you to yell and kick even louder.  But the person in the house is not hearing you.

The only way to gain entry by yourself is to relieve yourself of your burden.  You slowly lower the heavy bags, placing them on the ground below.  Instantly, you feel relief from the weight you were attempting to carry.  As you finally let yourself into the house, you determine that next time you will make that extra second or third trip.  The kids come running to see what treats you have brought home and you chide them for failing to come to your aid. 

"But, Mom," they reply, "you told us to never open the door to strangers!"

Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25:1-13 that bears a striking resemblance to the response given by the children in my own, and one that should give us pause.  At a specific time in the  not-too-distant future, there will be many, their arms loaded down with heavy burdens, who will find themselves locked out of His house.  But this time, the One Who holds the key will be on the other side of the door.  Their failure to prepare and be ready for such an event will prevent them from gaining passage, no matter how feverishly they pound upon the door and plead with the One Who possesses the key.  His response will be, "I tell you the truth, I do not know you." (v12) 

Will you find yourself in this situation?  Are you struggling on your own to bear the entire burden you carry?  Or have you gratefully handed it over to Jesus to carry for you?  Are you approaching the door with Him by your side, the key to heaven's door in His hand?  Or are you stubbornly refusing His help, only to discover when it is too late that He is behind the door that is forever shut tight against you?

Jesus says, "Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (Rev 1:18)  He will determine who He allows into His eternal kingdom.  It will be those who "trimmed their lamps" (Matt 25:7) and kept faithful watch for His return (v13) that will be rewarded entry into His house.  Knowing that He alone carries the key that not only opens the door to eternal punishment, but also to heaven, should urge us to be counted among His children who are blessed with acceptance into Paradise.

There is still time to be included with those who will find an unlocked door awaiting them.  The way is easy for those who choose to take it.  Jesus explains just how simple it is to find God and enjoy eternal peace and everlasting joy in this promise: 

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8)

Don't be caught off guard and find yourself to be a stranger to the One behind the door.  If you do the things He asks of you, Jesus will know you when you come knocking.

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