Check your Bags at the Door

Feb 24, 2016   //   by Jackie Matyasovski   //   Pastor's Blog, Zion's Blog  //  No Comments

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way toward Jerusalem.  Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.  Away from me all you evildoers!”

“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.  People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.  Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Luke 13:22-30

 

Are you one of those people who returns home from shopping and is determined to only make one trip from the car to the house?  You know the type; they come home from the grocery store and stubbornly attempt to carry a week’s worth of groceries in one trip, hanging multiple bags from each arm and carrying the rest along with the keys and possibly a purse, swaying dangerously and looking for all the world as though a gentle breeze might knock them over.  And if they manage to get to the door unscathed an even greater task awaits—trying to open the door and get everything through it.  Not everyone is successful, and the results can be disastrous.

In our text today, Jesus instructs his listeners to “make every effort to enter through the narrow door,” and cautions them that “many will try to enter and will not be able to.”  But Jesus is not talking about the potential danger of trying to carry too many grocery bags.  He is speaking of the danger of attempting to carry pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness through the door to the kingdom.  He is speaking of those whose heads are swollen and chests are puffed up with the belief that they are better than everyone else; that they are somehow privileged and deserving of the kingdom of God.  He is warning them to remember that their salvation is a gift, not something they have earned.  Jesus is urging them to put aside all the human baggage they carry around and instead to earnestly desire to know him and diligently strive to follow him.

And what about us?  It is not enough to simply listen to Jesus’ words or admire his miracles—we must turn from our sin and trust in God to save us.  We must put aside our pride, our ego, our greed, our desire to “do it ourselves” and instead take on the nature of Christ; to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

During this season of Lent, let’s work on removing the things from our lives that would prevent us from being able to go through the narrow door; the thoughts and actions that would keep us on the outside looking in through the window and wailing because we are not welcome.  Let us instead work on cultivating a gentle spirit that focuses outward to the needs of others instead of inward to ourselves and our selfish wants.  Let’s put down our bags, pick up our crosses, and follow Jesus to and through the narrow door and in to the feast in the kingdom of God.

 

Jackie Matyasovski, Deacon

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