Open Your Doors
William F. Maddock
(reprinted by permission)
I was driven to think about Lazarus. As I walked those paths and trod those rows, I was driven to think about Lazarus. I was also driven to think about slander and judgment, condemnation and death.
I saw how most who come into these areas only do so to get their idea of exercise by watching others who are getting actual exercise, but I also saw some few that live their lives in the service of those others who find themselves in need.
Jesus used the story of Lazarus and the rich man to teach. He used it to teach about self-praise and self-righteousness, and the unfounded condemnation of others, and the dangers that attend such attitudes.
It is very easy—and very deadly—to assume that you know the contents of another person’s heart and the intentions of their soul. During the time I have been on this adventure I have seen varying reactions from those who have known me before—accusations of sin to frustration and coldness all the way to joyful surprise at what God is doing in my life.
The major thing I have found is the depth of my own misconceptions about those others who are living this adventure. I have lost nothing—and (Oh!) the things which I have gained! For more than a brief time I have watched as wicked people have fought tooth and nail against anyone who would stand to help those who are in need, instead striving to keep them swept under the rug, out of view and out of the minds of those whose votes they would buy and do crave.
The Lord brought me here and has protected me here and will continue to work to see that His will is done in this dark, wicked, and sin-filled world. Do you think the arm of God is too short to also protect you? Do you still dare to call yourself a person of faith? Do you preside over a church that claims that its treasures are in heaven, yet still bars and locks its doors on earth against those who are in need? Do you still refuse to see how many needy people could be sleeping in those pews? Trust me, I do know that many of you are in areas that simply do not show such a desperate need among those who live around your church. I do also know, however, that there are those among you who cower in fear for the earthly possessions that you—simply for matters of convenience—keep stored and mounted in the sanctuary of your church while refusing to trust God to protect those very things that you insist upon leaving mounted in that church.
Do you really not see the sin from which you suffer? Does your pride run so deep? If I—who ran so far and so long from the path I now walk—can find myself so thoroughly and completely supplied and protected, then surely one so righteous as yourself need have no fear from the powerless, needy and hungry people of the world.
Think about this; ponder upon it and weep: there are so many congregations that are so proud of their “missionary” efforts (they will go to the ends of the earth to find converts for the Lord, and are so proud of that that they even put “missionary” in their congregation’s name), yet how few of them are so proudly willing to venture into the center of their own cities to serve the desperate who are within their own grasp!
A few days ago, a youth group was bussed in to serve food and clothing to the poor—so that they could be photographed and their parents could ew and ah and coo at the photos of their children working for the Lord! Would they have still come if there were no cameras involved?
Those who seek to serve out of the sincerity of their hearts do not seek to have the event recorded for posterity. They do it because it needs to be done—not to receive the applause and accolades of their friends, family and neighbors. The Lord sees the desires of their hearts and the content of their characters—and that is enough for them.
Those who fight against the needs of the poor and who fight to keep the downtrodden swept under the rug and out of sight/out of mind are not good people; they are people who are openly and fervently fighting against God. They are not people that you should vote for, applaud, or follow.
Why do you complain about the government that rules over you—the government that you have elected—when you keep on voting for people such as these. If you really want good, righteous government, then stop listening to carefully crafted sound bites and start listening to God. If you would listen to God—really listen to Him—and vote for those who really do know God personally, then what possible room for complaints could there be? And if you steadfastly refuse to do so, then what possible right for complaints could there be?
Those who do the will of God will find the blessings of God, while those who steadfastly fight the will of God will suffer the consequences of those misguided and wasteful efforts.
How can it be sinful to follow the calling of the Lord upon your life? Does God not know all of the circumstances surrounding that call? If He does not then why do you call Him God?
He knows all things and will deal with all things. There is nothing that resides beyond His power. There is nothing that resides beyond His reach. Thankfully, there is nothing that resides beyond His grace.
All things are within Him and through Him and because of Him. All things are therefore within the reach of His power and His mercy and His grace. There is nothing that is beyond Him. He has accomplished all things. That, quite necessarily, includes all things that are of such dire concern to you and yours.
If you really are of genuine faith in Jesus Christ, then this leaves you with only one reasonable response: obey Him. Listen to His call, follow Him and obey Him. Show the trust of Him that you claim is in your heart and open your doors.