Open Door Policy
SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
I have an “open door” policy at Key Life but with a closed door. There’s a lot of noise in our office (we are, after all, a media ministry), a lot of laughter (you can always tell Jesus is present when there’s laughter) and a lot of music.
We all have email but because we like one another so much, it’s just easier to shout down the hall or walk into a co-worker’s office. I like all the noise here a lot, but it’s best muffled or I would never get anything done. Thus the closed door with the understanding that anybody who wants to can come in…and they do.
Somebody just knocked on my office door and I had a “revelation.”
Whenever anybody at Key Life knocks on my door, before they come in, I know who it is from the sound of the knock. Some have a knock that sounds like they’re going to break the door down, others just tap, some do multiple knocks with varying degrees of intensity, and some knock so softly that I can only hear it with my hearing aids.
In my mind, I’ve assigned a knock to each person.
That reminded me of a text. (I’m an old preacher and I’ve been doing this for so long that I can hardly think a thought without also thinking of a text.) The text is this: “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” (Revelation 3:20).
That got me thinking about Jesus’ knock. What do you suppose it would sound like?
First, it wouldn’t be just a knock because Jesus says that “if anyone hears my voice.” So it would be knock and a voice. My wife, Anna, has often said to me (she was a music major in college) that music is the universal language. I understand that but it depends on what one is trying to communicate through the sound of music. Joy, sadness, excitement and fear can all be communicated by a melody. But if you want to talk about the proper exegesis of Scripture, the historical event of the resurrection, the mathematical formula for gasoline, or the intricacies of brain surgery, you have to add some lyrics.
Just so, a knock doesn’t always communicate everything that is needful. A knock could be the portent of something very scary—bad news, an angry listener with a gun, the tax collector, or someone I don’t want to see.
Do you remember when Jesus walked on water in the middle of a storm? It scared the spit out of the disciples and they were already terrified. In fact, when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, they thought he was a ghost. Matthew writes, “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid’” (Matthew 14:27).
When Jesus knocks, he always says, “It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
As I think about it, Jesus’ knock would also be a gentle knock. C.S. Lewis once said that to say he was searching for God would be like saying that a “mouse was searching for a cat.” I get that but, at the same time, there is the element of freedom without manipulation. I once heard my friend, Cliff Barrows, say that the Holy Spirit was a gentleman who wouldn’t strong-arm his way into our lives. There would be something like that in Jesus’ knock…a kind of hesitant knock that wouldn’t be insistent.
Sometimes the last person I want to talk to is Jesus. (I know, I know, I probably shouldn’t admit that…and I don’t believe I did.) Frankly, there are occasions when I would rather avoid his love and continue in my sin or when I’m tired of all the “religious” stuff and just want to run. At those times, the last person in the world I want to see is Jesus.
I have a friend who said to me when I brought up Jesus in a conversation, “Just leave me alone. I’m fine.” I responded, “That’s okay…but you won’t always be fine. I’ll be here if you ever want to talk about Jesus.” Two days later, my friend came back and said, “I lied…I’m not fine and haven’t been fine for a long time. Can we talk?”
If the door isn’t opened, Jesus’ knock is never followed by rejection. If I were the “King of kings,” I would probably kick the door down. I certainly wouldn’t wait until my subject wanted to see me. There’s an oft-quoted saying that reflects how God “ought” to deal with rejection: “If I were God, I would kick the world to pieces. Aren’t you glad I’m not God?” If I were Jesus upon encountering a door that didn’t open, I would walk away and maybe never come back. Aren’t you glad I’m not Jesus?
In fact, sometimes (probably more than he knocks on my door) I knock on his. “You there?” I often ask. One might even reverse that verse in Revelation to read, “Behold, Steve stands at the door and knocks. When Jesus hears Steve’s voice, he swings open the door, grins and says, ‘I was expecting you! Welcome!’”
There is one more thing. Jesus’ knock would be for the express purpose of a good meal and maybe even a party. “I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Talk about a dinner party.
Erik Guzman (our VP of Communications at Key Life) and Chad West (our anti-social social media guy) came up with an idea yesterday and asked me if I would be open to try it. Chad has been doing a live stream video every Wednesday on our Facebook page. He walks around with a camera and live streams whatever he finds and whomever he sees. It’s kind of a “behind the scenes” view of Key Life. For instance, he comes into my office and shows that I’m not behind my desk. “I guess he’s not there,” Chad says. “I’ll bet he’s recording.” Then Chad takes the camera to the control room and videos us doing the talk show. Sometimes Chad has a conversation with the person he’s filming in the office, reception area or warehouse…and sometimes not. It has become a popular thing on Facebook and you might want to check it out.
At any rate, Chad and Erik said that it would be “cool” if they took the live feed to my office where, of course, the door would be closed. Beforehand, they would find someone who looked like the traditional picture of Jesus—long hair, beard, robe and sandals. So they would knock and, when there was no answer, they would open the door to find me sitting with Jesus and playing cards…probably poker.
I laughed when they told me their idea and then I got serious. You know, it’s not far from the truth. Sometimes I knock on Jesus’ door and say, “I don’t want anything but would it be okay if I just hung out with you for a while?”
He always says (in Aramaic, of course), “Are you kidding? Sit down and we’ll have a party. You know it’s not a real party unless you’re a part of it.”
He told me to tell you that you could come too.
All you have to do is knock.