I recently saw what I assume is an atheist/agnostic cartoon. In it Jesus is knocking on the door of an ancient-looking home and saying, “Open the door so I can save you.”
The voice behind the door says, “Save me from what?”
Jesus answers, “From what I am going to do to you if you don’t open the door.”
The meme would be more accurate if Jesus had given a list:
- … from what my Father is going to do to you if you don’t change your ways;
- … from the sin that creates devastation in far too many lives;
- … and from your careless, self-indulgent lifestyle that does nothing to rectify the devastation in so many lives.
I understand. A lot of people don’t believe that God created people or that people are accountable to him. The devastation is overwhelming. They feel hopeless to make a difference, or they feel no sense of accountability for the problems.
Those people will perish in the everlasting fire (Matt. 25:31-46) if we do not warn them or if they do not believe our warning. Jesus tells a story about the fate of a rich man who ignored the beggar at his gate. He became a highly motivated evangelist, but only after it was too late to be one (Luke 16:19-31).
For those of us who do believe that God created us and will hold us accountable for our lives, it is wise to open the door at which Jesus is knocking, and let him save us from our comfortable and careless lives. If we do so, we will have eternity to be comfortable, with no sorrow, no crying, and no pain.
You cannot be comfortable in both places. You can be comfortable here, or you can be comfortable there, but not both. If you are a Christian, you are familiar with the beatitudes, but are you familiar with the woes?
But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.
Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! (Luke 6:24-26, NKJV)
Anyone who has read the Bible knows the importance God attaches to helping the down and out (if they are willing to be helped). Jesus ties our judgment at the end of the age to our treatment of the down and out (Matt. 25:31-46). Though we should give priority to our brothers and sisters in the household of God, we are required to extend our purposeful goodness to all (Gal. 6:10; Tobit 2:2).
Some of the ministry I have done recently has opened my eyes to the role of hopelessness in drug addiction and broken marriages. Of course, both these things lead to children raised by one damaged, hopeless parent, extending the pattern of hopelessness and ruined lives.
You’re probably like me. You haven’t a clue how to do anything about the “dregs of society.” There are people who do, and they are looking for your help.
You may, like me, think a lot of megachurches are missing the point. Most, however, have a ministry that benefits the down and out, and that is pretty central to the point. Join them. If you have to sign a statement of faith you don’t agree with to do so, then there are other ministries and other churches that just want godly workers. You don’t have to be a ministry director. Peons (“low ranking workers,” real word, not a pun) change the world too. Brilliant ideas become reality with the labor and sweat of those who did not have the idea.
Yes, we must be born again to see the Kingdom of Heaven. If Jesus knew anything about the judgment, though, you should keep a sharp eye for the needy around you or volunteer to help someone else who is keeping a sharp eye out.