Thursday, July 31, 2008

Entertaining God

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

Not Suitable for Company

Earlier in this chapter, God promises to open a door no man can close to us. Next, He turns His attention to a door He can’t open. Who comes and goes through that door is completely ours to choose. He wants us to welcome Him in and show Him genuine hospitality: invite Him to stay for dinner, spend time together around the table, tell Him what’s on our minds, and hear what He’s thinking.

A lot of us keep Him waiting. We know He’s there—we hear His voice. But we look at our lives and think they’re unsuitable for company. They’re cluttered with attitudes, habits, fears, and doubts we’d rather He not see. So many hurts and resentments are piled under the carpet we can’t help stumbling over them ourselves. Our pantries are stocked with pop-culture junk food; mold grows over the untouched bread and meat of His Word. Unable to tidy up quickly and worried we have nothing decent to offer, we let Him wait.


The New Yorker, January 20, 1997

The Other Houseguests

Then there are the other houseguests to consider, other gods we’ve allowed into our lives: success, popularity, prosperity, pleasure, pride, intellect, self-love, and dozens more. We’ve coddled and fed some of them until they’ve taken over the house. They’re simply too fat and lazy to move out. Still, we like them. They make us feel good. So what if they’re not as fun as when we first let them in? We’re used to their hanging around. God’s knocking unnerves them. “Ignore Him!” they plead. “He’ll give up and go away.”

Let Him In

They’re liars, and we know it. God waits as long as it takes for us to get over ourselves and let Him in. When we open the door, He politely steps into our mess. We discover He didn’t come to inspect the premises and check out who’s there. He came specifically to visit with us.

When God crosses our threshold, He instantly makes Himself at home. He arrives with the makings of a properly nutritious meal. He pitches in to help us make sense of our chaos. One by one, the old hangers-on sneak away with hardly a whimper. With everything in place, we sit down with Him. We have all the time in the world, because we’re dining with the One who created time, the world, and us. There’s no shortage of His interest in what we tell Him, no end to the love and wisdom in what He says. Entertaining God is, in every way, the feast of a lifetime.

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