Men who have entered their middle years often look back upon their youth with certain wistful longings. Not me. My youth was a long, bumpy ride with a lot of uncharted detours along the way. Not that I complain. No one can write who has not first lived and my twenty-third year alone is worth two dozen columns, three short stories, and a really bad poem in which none of the words rhyme. But I digress.
Her name was Jill. She was a friend of a friend and, in my youthful fancy, the fairest of ten thousand. Be still, my heart! Okay, maybe that is laying it on a bit thick, but from the part of her golden hair to her painted toe nails, Jill was a looker with few equals! What a girl! And word had reached my eager ears that Jill was in between steady boyfriends and if I arrived at her door around seven-ish on Friday, she would accompany me to dinner and a movie! It was all set.
Friday night took its good sweet time in coming, but at the appointed hour I stood knocking at her front door, dressed in my best threads and bearing a dozen lovely long-stemmed roses. Soon I would be gazing into the face of the world's most beautiful girl. No answer. Perhaps I had better knock again. Still no answer. Had I arrived too early? No, it was seven on the nose. And then I heard the faint sound of a television followed by the psst! of an opened soda can. I knocked again; Jill was home, to be sure, but she wasn't opening the door for me!
As cell phones did not exist in those prehistoric days, I drove to a nearby pay phone, but when Jill discovered the caller was me, she ended the connection with a resounding click! There was something very sad and very final about that click. Bewildered by such shabby treatment, I drove back to her apartment, rapped lightly upon the door one last time, and left the roses on the porch. My broken heart and I drove home. The big date with Jill was over.
Some two thousand years ago, Christ Jesus appealed to an apathetic, halfhearted congregation in the Asia-Minor city of Laodicea. A church in name only, the people had grandly boasted, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing." And on the surface, the church at Laodicea must have looked pretty good. Their building program was in full swing and the congregation had just purchased a Rolex for their pastor, but Jesus, who sees beyond the obvious, took issue with their boasting and rebuked them by saying, "you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" Our Lord had examined their hearts and pronounced them neither cold nor hot but lukewarm.
Yet, in spite of the Laodiceans' many serious shortcomings, Jesus again demonstrated His great mercy by saying, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
When Jill refused to answer my knocking, what did she miss? Dinner. A movie. The company of an awkward, tongue-tied young man. No great loss here. But what of those who will not open the door to Jesus? They lose everything.
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Dr. Michael Blunk is a staff writer for an apologetics ministry and serves full time as a chaplain with Wayside Christian Mission. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org