God opens the door to opportunityPublished 7:19pm Friday, December 30, 2011
An open door can be frightening if we come home late at night and find one, or frustrating if our children leave them open during the cold winter or hot summer! But an open door is a great analogy for the church in the new year, and one the apostle Paul used in 1 Corinthians 16.
Paul declared God opened a door for him to share the gospel in the Mediterranean world. This work established strong churches in a pagan culture where idols and immorality abounded. But the apostle persevered, knowing the emptiness people felt.
We don’t see idols today but we do find the same emptiness. Americans fill our lives with things believing things will satisfy. However, “stuff” is like cotton candy that melts away and leaves nothing. No wonder we have a credit crunch when people buy more and more things trying to satisfy their souls.
The church must be faithful in proclaiming ultimate satisfaction in Christ.
The apostle also acknowledged his adversaries.
Today the church faces opposition without from an increasingly secular society.
A recent story in “Newsweek” related how some hotels refuse to stock the customary Gideon Bibles in order not to “offend” guests. How strange when the Bible offends, but adult cable channels are standard!
The church faces opposition also from within.
Marshall Shelley wrote a book several years ago called “Well-Intentioned Dragons,” in which he insisted Christians with good hearts sometimes do crazy things.
It was many years ago at high school graduation when our church had a Sunday night fellowship and planned to give us new Bibles. A youth worker waited until the night of the event and told my friend Bobby that he shouldn’t participate since he wouldn’t graduate with us in May but only after he attended summer school. She taught at our high school and had access to information no one knew or even cared about. Bobby’s parents and grandparents were there that night expecting to see him honored by his church. The family was deeply hurt and became inactive in our church for many years.
Opposition may come to the work of Christ when believers fail to demonstrate good manners and good sense.
Paul also noted in this chapter that his indebtedness to seven helpers. These men and women most often worked outside the spotlight, but they, nonetheless, played a significant role in the work of Christ.
The point is, I think, that we don’t go through the door of opportunity alone, but in the company of Christian friends.
We can’t know what 2012 holds, but the church enters with confidence a door God has opened.