Revelation 3:20 - (Jesus said) "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me."
During my pastor-parish years, I enjoyed seeing people in their homes.
That's because I just never knew what was going to happen. There were at least a dozen times when I called on a family unexpectedly. With minor variations, it went something like this: as I walked up to the house, I could hear people talking and see shadows moving around. I knew someone was home. I knocked and waited. Before anyone answered, they checked and saw my car.
From inside, I could hear a loud whisper: "Oh, no, it's the preacher." Another voice said, "No, not the preacher; not now. What does he want?" Then I heard the mother of the house whisper loudly enough so that I and everyone else could hear: "Don't let him in yet. Clean up the house first!"
Normally, this lady was a quiet, soft-spoken soul. Normally, she was gentle as a lamb, and her words were filled with kindness and love. But when she said, "Quick, clean up the house!" her words had iron in them. There was no discussion, no argument, no "Do I have to?" or "It's not my job!"
When mom said, "Quick, clean up the house!" everybody hopped to. I heard people running, doors slamming, and drawers shutting.
With, and I must confess it, a devilish heart, I knocked again. Everybody kicked into high gear as mom barked out orders like a drill sergeant: "You, get the Sunday paper and put it away! You, put the Bible on the coffee table." To another she said, "Get your dirty socks off the kitchen counter." To her husband, "Put on a clean shirt. I won't let the pastor see you in that old thing. Next time I throw it away, I'm going to do it on garbage day so you can't fish it out of the trash."
Now all of this took less time to do than it does to tell.
At last, when she was assured that at least the living room was clean enough for inspection, the door opened and mother, brushing a few disheveled hairs back from her brow, invited me in. With a flushed face from running around, she began with a little white lie and said, "Pastor, I'm sorry, we didn't hear you. What a wonderful surprise. How good of you to pay us a visit."
For the next five minutes, one by one the rest of the family, having completed their portion of the clean-up, came in and dutifully greeted me. With a corner of the newspaper peeking out from under the couch, and a single Nike® sneaker visible behind a stereo speaker, I had a hard time keeping a straight face.
I can't remember what we talked about on those occasions. I do remember they invited me in and did their best to clean things up when they did so.
It is my hope that Jesus is always welcome when He comes calling in the homes that we call our hearts. Truly, He who offered His life for us on Calvary's cross and ushered in a new covenant between God and man with His resurrection from the dead, ought to be the most welcome of visitors. No, that's not right, is it? Because Jesus ought to live in us permanently that line ought to read, "He should always be the most honored of residents."
And because we wish to honor and show respect for Christ, we ought to do our best to make sure our hearts are as uncluttered of evil as we can make them. Thankfully, these are also gifts which come from His forgiving presence and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me discard anything in my life that would be an impediment to the Savior living in my heart. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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