by Ryan Duncan
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28
Once upon a time, there lived a wise and righteous king who cared deeply for his people. In order to ensure that his kingdom prospered, the king summoned one of his servants and gave him this decree,
"Go and stand at the door of the palace. If someone comes and asks to see me, open the door and allow them in so I may speak with them."
So the servant went and did as the king commanded. People came from far and wide to see the king. Some were rich men, some were great scholars, others were from noble families, and when they asked to see the king the doorman gave them entry. Then one day a poor beggar came to the palace door and asked to see the king. The doorman looked him over and frowned.
The beggar's clothes were dirty and torn, he wore no shoes and was unpleasant to look at.
"Surely my king would not wish to meet with such a man as this," the doorman said to himself, and turned the beggar away. Soon the doorman began turning others away; people he deemed too poor, or too sick, or too strange. When the king discovered what was being done he summoned the doorman to him.
"Why have you been turning people away from the palace?" the king demanded angrily. The doorman was surprised and replied meekly, "My king, I was only performing the duty you gave me."
"Your duty was to open the door for those who would see me," said the king, "not decide if they were worthy to do so."
It's unfortunate when we behave like the doorman in this story. We style ourselves the "Watchmen on the Wall," and if we see someone who doesn't quite fit our definition of worthy, we slam the door in his or her face. But God's grace is not ours to give away, and true forgiveness belongs to Christ alone. Our job is to open the door that leads to Christ, through prayer, through friendship, and through service. Remember, we all stand on equal footing at the door of Christ's mercy.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Have you been turning away people who are looking for God? Or lighting the way to the narrow path? Take some time to consider.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."