I stand at the door and knock

ask-godRevelation 3:20
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

If you’ve ever worked in retail, you may have come across them: Bible tracts tucked onto a shelf of merchandise. When I ran a gift and home furnishings shop, I came across at least one every other month, sometimes several in just one day. They are the result of what you might call “stealth evangelists”–people who just want to get the gospel out there any way they can, even if they are just planting a seed by leaving a tract where someone will find it. I will be honest: I’m not a fan of that method of evangelism. Stealth evangelism is about as effective as hollering “Hallelujah” in the middle of a crowd. Do that, and you may get some stares, maybe even an “Amen,” but generally most people will just keep doing whatever they are doing because it plainly wasn’t addressed to them.

And that’s kind of the point of evangelism, isn’t it? We are commissioned to preach the gospel TO people and not just AT them. We are called to make disciples by teaching and baptizing, and that involves an ACTIVE connection with people, not a PASSIVE one. I don’t suppose my opinion on the matter will stop the stealthy tracts from showing up in stores, and if even one of those tracts makes a difference in someone’s life, then there will be great rejoicing in heaven.

But I did find a “tract” one day about 10 years ago that has resonated with me ever since. On a shelf between a couple of sculptures, I found a small blue Post-it note with yellow writing on it. It was hard to read, but I could read it clearly in good light. It said this:

“Ask God to search your heart and show you how to serve Him!”

This is less evangelism than challenging the believer to do more for the kingdom of God. In fact, it’s surprisingly apt for today’s western church that is so full of pew-sitters rather than people serving the kingdom. It reminds me of today’s passage from Revelation.

Some people read that passage and assume that it’s about people responding to Jesus’ call, but that’s not what it is. In the preceding verses, Jesus has been reprimanding the church in Laodicea for being lukewarm in their love for God. They think they need nothing more than what they already have, and yet Jesus calls them to be zealous and repent. Then He says He is standing at the door–the door to their lives, the door they have shut to keep out anything that doesn’t fall in line with their selfish way of thinking and living–and He is knocking, waiting for them to open the door and let Him back in. In the gospels, whenever Jesus dined with someone, it was a sure sign of His blessing falling on someone–Zacchaeus, or Mary and Martha, or the woman who anointed Him–and so it could be again. He is knocking…

So the challenge of that tiny “tract” that I found was simply to ask God into my life to guide me, to show me how I can serve Him every day. That Post-it note asked me to open the door and leave it open for Jesus, so He is always a part of whatever I do in life. When we ask Jesus in, then there is no need for Him to stand at the door and knock.

About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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