I don’t know about you, but when the doorbell rings at our house, it sets off a chain of events worthy of the Grand Prize on America’s Funniest Videos.The dog barks, the kids scream and chase the barking dog, my husband mutters a few choice words under his breath, and I roll my eyes in anticipation of "whoever” could be at the door.Did I mention that this always seems to happen when I’m on the phone.Not that our household is a model of tranquility or anything, but I experience a new level of stress even when our normal chaos is disrupted.I mean, my time is valuable; I’m usually doing something. So, my initial reaction when the doorbell rings or I hear a knock, is “what now?”What do they want? I am usually angry and frustrated that my day has been so rudely interrupted.
Oh, and, we’ve had some interesting people ring our doorbell over the years.The cable guy who insisted he could install cable on two or more TVs in our house, despite my insistence that 1. I didn’t want cable, and 2. I only had one TV.The vacuum salesman who took back my “free” gift when I wouldn’t let him in our home for a demonstration.The countless window and siding exerts who approach our home with dollar signs in their eyes only to retreat looking as if they were just one number short of the mega millions jackpot!Of course, we also experience the predictable doorbell ring of the gas meter reader on the second of every month and quite happily welcome the deliveries of the UPS man.
On several occasions this past summer, however, the side doorbell rang, signaling a friend or neighbor.So, after shoving aside the barking dog, dodging the running, screaming children, glaring at the muttering husband and rolling my frustrated eyes, I found myself met by small, smiling, suntanned faces staring up at me through the door….. “Can Hannah and Luke come out to play?”
These words caught me off guard.I am an introvert by nature and I often have a long list of tasks I must accomplish before I allow myself to “play”.I do not think of myself as the “outdoorsy” type and am often content to just stay inside. And, since I am a grown-up, I tend to schedule my outings with my friends.We all check our calendars and hope nothing comes up in the meantime.I do not just show up at the door of a friend and expect them to be able to come out.However, because I don’t let my kids play out front unsupervised, I was forced to consider going outside ….on the spur of the moment, mind you, to “play”….or as I saw it…. “get nothing done that needed to be done.”
Hmmmm…..”Can you come out to play?”Now, there’re some words I haven’t heard since my own childhood.Do you want to, Can you….come out to play?No strings attached. Nothing to buy.No expectations…..just simply…..do you want to, can you….come out to play?
When I was younger, I lived on a street with about 50 kids….10 were my age.Almost every day, one of the kids from across the street would unexpectedly show up on our porch and ring the doorbell.I would answer the door with great joy and anticipation. Someone wanted to play with me!I would bound out of the house and into freedom and friendship.The possibilities were endless!
At some point over the years, however, I became distrusting about who is behind the knock or the ring at the door.I came to expect that something is required of me….my time…..my pocketbook.At some point over the years, I began to use excuses in the form of “tasks to be completed.”I became comfortable staying inside, going out only when my schedule permitted.At some point, I forgot what was so precious in my childhood—the freedom and friendship, the fun in “going out to play.”
The same is true of my spiritual life. When the Lord has come knocking, there have been times when I have felt the chaos increasing within myself(kind of like the dog barking and the kids running and screaming all at once)There have been times I have been a bit distrustful of Jesus.I could not believe that His companionship was offered with no strings attached…..that He actually wanted to be with me…..of all people.There have been times I’ve been afraid something would be required of me which I could not give. I’ve worried that He would ask me to do something I did not want to do, and that I would have to do it alone.There have been times I have had a long list of tasks I wished to be completed before I was willing to open the door.I have wanted to clean up, straighten up my life before going out to spend time with Him. There have been times I’ve been more comfortable staying inside myself and my own self-constructed walls.I ventured out only when I could schedule my desired outcome. There have been many times I have forgotten the freedom and friendship that comes when I open the door and go out to play.
This past summer, I was met at my door by Jesus, who came in the midst of my chaos, and in the form of the small, smiling, suntanned faces of my children’s friends who asked if we wanted to come out to play.They weren’t selling anything.They had no expectations.They simply wanted to be with us.Of course, we went out.The kids played.They were just having fun….being together.I watched. And, I was reminded what freedom and friendship with Jesus looks like.
Today, Jesus has knocked at the door of your heart.He has invited himself in.But He also asks, gently, joyfully, in great anticipation of your friendship….can you come out to play?