"A Long Line"
June 6, 2013
We know that a person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Jesus Christ. ... Galatians 2:16a
For eight of the 12 years I studied for the ministry I lived in a dorm and ate all my meals at the school's cafeteria. That's eight years of standing in line for breakfast, eight years of standing in line for lunch, and eight years of standing in line for dinner.
That may explain why I hate standing in any kind of line.
It may also explain why taking my children or grandchildren to Disney World is a battle. On the one hand is my love for the kids and seeing them have a good time; on the other hand is my distaste for standing in the lengthy lines, which seem to accompany any Disney ride worth riding.
Apparently, I am not alone in this love/hate relationship. I say that because right now Disney is investigating people who are paying disabled strangers over $1,000 a day to go to the park with them. By having such an individual with their family, the entire group can get on a ride in a few minutes, rather than waiting for three hours like everyone else.
The reaction to the practice has been mixed.
The vast majority of people have said the deception is "unfair," "awful" and "despicable," and only a very small percentage have confessed, "I wish I had $1,000 to rent a disabled person to help my family get on those rides more quickly."
And what do I think?
I think that story is a good lead-in for this devotion: a devotion which begins with you and me in a very long line of people wanting to get into heaven. This line, composed of humanity's sinners, stretched out further than the eye could see. Even worse, this line was not moving. As we waited, it became obvious we were never going to get into heaven.
That's when a fellow, a fellow named Jesus, came up to the line and said, "Forget the line. Come with Me. I can get you into heaven."
When someone asked, "And just how are You going to do that?" He replied, "I will take your place and carry your sins. I will be lied about, beaten, whipped, crowned with thorns, mocked, crucified and murdered. Then, three days after I die, I will rise again."
The reaction to His offer was mixed. Some folks wanted to get into heaven on their own, so they didn't get out of line. Others said they thought they would wait to see if the line started moving. More than a few said, "It is too good to be true," and they stayed put.
As for me, although I thought it was terribly unfair for Jesus to suffer and die for me, I was incredibly thankful He had. I was overjoyed I was going to get right into heaven, and I no longer had to stand in that lengthy line ... that eternally lengthy line which, without Jesus, was going nowhere.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for rescuing me from death, I give thanks. For doing what I could not do, I give thanks. For taking my place and opening heaven, I give thanks. I do so in the Name of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries