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The Open Door.

Doors communicate passage or access, whether from public to private spaces or from guardedness to freedom. A threshold symbolizes transition to the new frontier of one’s life. Fiction and history provide countless examples of the significance a doorway holds for our souls.

Locked doors stir the outsider’s imagination. We salivate over the mysterious contents of the inaccessible. Yet,  few would live among their fellow human beings with no private space to dwell unobserved. Nor can we exist in solitary confinement, never opening our lives to others. Among people, we must retain moments of solitude without locking our hearts away in a stronghold of fear.

Our relationship with Christ needs no such barrier management. Quiet times alone bring renewal only when savored in His presence. Moments shared with people, whether  toil, joy, or angst, resonate with eternal passion and meaning if the Lord stands with us in the midst of them. He requests an ever-open door, so we can cross the threshold to abundant life with Him.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

 

Unconditional Servant.

Servants receive little praise in our culture. In thankless silence, they clean, remove trash, or chop vegetables each day. Rare and few are those who recognize nobility in service. The world casts off the hard-working helpers as if they comprise a lower class. One claims these children of His as royal descendants.

The King strode into the modest room, where all His subjects had assembled to share a special feast. He removed his robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and washed their feet. The King of Kings took on a task assigned to the lowliest servant. Twenty-four calloused soles reeked of foul alley grime. Christ bent into those grimy toes, rinsing away the stench and filth of their past journeys. 

Jesus cleansed the heels of those who misunderstood Him. Rubbing and rinsing, the King knew those who would soon desert Him. Pulling Judas close enough to use the towel on his waist, He patted dry His betrayer’s feet. The Lord modeled unconditional service as a mark of divine royalty. 

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11)

See also John 13-14.

Rain or Shine.

Who hopes for a rainy day? A drizzle ruins my hairdo, wrecks my plans, and slows down my drive. I prefer cerulean skies and a few marshmallow clouds to lessen the sun’s intensity. Other than an occasional stroll around the neighborhood, I don’t spend much time outdoors. But, it’s inconvenient when showers dampen my shoes on the way into the store.

Obviously, I’m not a farmer. Unlike the ancients, I can eat and drink through dry seasons without giving the rain or shine a second thought.

Biblical folks appreciated storms. They prayed for seasons of downpour because they believed their lives depended upon the blessings which heaven alone could sprinkle onto them. A farmer depends on God’s rain and sunshine as equal needs.

Thousands of years and many suburban miles stretch between a visceral dependence upon divine grace and my dependence upon a purse-sized agenda. If God’s will dampens my path or inhibits the pace of my plans, I get frazzled. I fail to notice how His inconveniences nourish and reshape my heart, mind, and life. He showers me with unexpected blessings, and I huff at the lesser events which seem washed away. God never withholds a good thing from His beloved children unless He washes it aside to make room for something better. A farmer understands the value of soaking rains to soften hulls. Though it once seemed vital, the hull falls away and vanishes into the earth. The Son shines on tender shoots from the transformed seed, growing it toward abundant life.

I won’t sport overalls or boots anytime soon, but I plan to try on the farmer’s attitude. May I learn to thank God for His storms and the intense glow of His presence as equal blessings from heaven.

 

“Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants” (Deuteronomy 32:2).

“He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful” (Isaiah 30:23).

“You heavens above, rain down righteousness;
let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
let salvation spring up,
let righteousness grow with it;
I, the LORD, have created it” (Isaiah 45:8).

“As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” — Isaiah 55:10-11

A craving for significance rumbles from the pit of every soul born to this earth. Humanity scrambles across time and space to accomplish a life that matters. It seems an understatement to say we’re desperate for purpose.

If I had the product to assure our lives would resonate with purpose, I’d have no marketing challenges. Packaged in plastic, canned, or bottled, the key to significance would sell itself. Millions would clamor to purchase such an invention.

Most advertising suggests a promise of esteem, tugging at the inner human thirst for significance. I’ve chased mirages of beauty, performance, and acceptance for much of my life. Spiritual disciplines and acts of service fall short of fulfilling my yearning for purpose. My prayers have oozed with pleas for fruitfulness, but I continue to feel stuck in an existential wasteland.

Though I’ve searched for years, I still don’t have that clever product to ensure a life of meaning.

Today, the Lord encouraged me to study Isaiah 55, where I noticed a simple truth for the first time–I cannot accomplish purpose, yet God’s purpose cannot fail. I knew striving defeats the blessing of obedient surrender. I knew God’s ultimate will would be done. I didn’t see myself at the center of God’s victorious word. Becoming a vessel of God’s Word assures accomplishment according to His desire. I might never know the results, but the Lord assures success when He originates the message.

I’ve been distracted by lack of visible productivity from establishing faith in the unseen fruit. If God speaks and wills something through an obedient vessel, He will see it through to accomplish His purpose. It might not match my definition of significance. I might never see the result. If God desires it, that’s more than sufficient.

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