“What do ya want?” I asked as I opened the door. A young man and young woman stood there, smiling. Before they could speak I said, “I don’t want any, I don’t need saving, I already know all I want to know about Jesus. Just leave me alone.” But as I was about the slam the door, the young man said something that stopped me, “Sir, I have your life in my hands! You need to think about that!”
I opened the door a little wider and looked at him with a cold stare, “What are you talking about, are you threatening me?” He just smiled even broader and said, “No, no threats, just truth. I hold in my hand the book of life and I am sure that it could save yours! At this I just swore and slammed the door for good.
As I returned to the front room, passing by the stereo, I cranked it up. I had been listening to Bob Dylan’s new album, but not really paying a lot of attention. It had come with a few others in the mail from the Record Club of America. Now as I sat down, I heard lyrics saying:
“…Surrender your crown on the blood-stained ground, take off your mask. He sees your deeds even before you ask. How long can you falsely deny what is real?…”
I rummaged around to find the album cover, “Long Train Coming” turning it over, I saw that it was songs about God and Jesus. I shook my head and mumbled, “This ain’t right, no matter where I turn these days someone is trying to sell me their religion!” I got up and took the album off the turntable and sailed it across the room, hitting the wall it broke. Smiling, I said, “Now that is what I am talking about!” Looking through my albums I found Led Zeppelin and as it’s loud rhythms filled the room. I sank back in my chair, taking a pull from the whiskey bottle sitting next to it, I whispered “Peace at last!” and closed my eyes in a drunken stupor.
Man, most of my life I fought to keep the message of Jesus out. I really wanted no part of whatever He was all about. I cannot tell you how many times the incident above played out. Some one would come to the door offering to talk to me about Jesus. Most times they never got past the opening line, if that. This particular guy I remembered because he shocked me with the line he used, it was effective. But in the end, I shut him down too. Anytime I heard anyone or anything referring to the Savior, wham, I shut it out. Period.
I know there are a lot of people out there like me. Maybe not as hardcore but just as adamant about closing the door every time Jesus knocks. My friends, I get it. But all I can say today is, “Give Jesus a chance and listen to this from God’s Word: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:15a) You can know that everyday God is giving you an opportunity to change the life you are living. I know if you are struggling with addictions or depression or just life in the pressure cooker that is our world today, life ain’t all that great. The question is what do you have to lose. And even more maybe it is time to think what you have got to gain!
When you get to know God, really know Him. You will find this amazing love. I know you have probably been told or have come to believe that He is some vindictive being that is waiting to smack you around every time you fail but I have come to know, He is not. He is a God that loved us so much, He did this, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Have you ever loved anyone that much? Do you have a child you would sacrifice for a complete stranger? Our God did that, for you and for me. How can you turn away from love like that? Even this old lush was changed when I saw and believed it.
I know, you have heard this all before. Just another guy who was ‘born again’ trying to convince the world to believe in a God who doesn’t exist. If you are feeling this way, I understand. I have been there. But I want to tell a story Jesus told about the love of God. It is a famous story to those who read the Bible, found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 15. Most people know it as the Prodigal Son. I will tell it in my own words, then I am done, and it is up to you. Here is how it goes.
There was a rich farmer who had two sons. His youngest was kind of wild and the oldest was not. One day the youngest tells his dad, “I can’t hang around here forever, this farm is boring.
I know you have some money laid aside for me. Give it to me now and I am out of here.” The father knows better, but he also knows the only way his son will see truth is to be out in the world on his own. He gives him the money. Of course, the son goes out and blows it all on partying and soon is broke with no friends to his name especially since the money has run out. So, he gets a job cleaning up after pigs, for so little pay he can barely eat. One day he thinks, “I will go home and work for my dad as a hired hand. I know he pays them better than this.” He came far and finally as he is walking up the farm road, his father sees him from a long way off and comes running out to meet him. And even though he is dirty and smell even worse wraps his arms around him and hugs him hard. He tells his hired hands to get the best clothes and shoes, even puts a ring on his finger. The son tries to tell him that he is willing earn his keep now, but the father won’t even listen. All he knows is that this son who was lost is now found. Let the party begin! (paraphrase from Luke 15:11-24)
That is the God I have come to know. He allowed me for over 56 years to wallow in every pig sty I could. Still stinking of every kind of sin. Yet the moment I decided to come to Him, He was there with open arms and He is there waiting for you. Yes, His Son, Jesus, has already died for your and my sins. And that is love, my friends. Love I never knew or understood. But today I am blessed to share it with you. All you got to do is ask, His arms are open, nothing you have done can stop Him from loving you. Enough said… at least for now.