Ever walked into a doorframe because you weren’t paying attention? When I was a kid, I remember walking through a hallway at school (an external one made of plywood, while some construction was going on) with my cousin, and strolling directly into the frame of a doorway. Having led with my forehead (for some reason), I had a nice knot of swelling there for a while!
Still, it is good to use doorways. They let us in to places we want to be, and let us pass from one room to another. And, they are there to be used. After all, if we stopped by to visit friends, but we tried to get in through the window (or the pet door) they could very well mistake us for a burglar (which, if they had a baseball bat handy, might result in the same sort of head injury that I mentioned above!). In fact, Jesus alluded to something like this in John 10:1.
However, if the last year has taught us anything (although I know that I’m a slow learner, sometimes), it is that we weren’t meant to stay confined to a single place for a long time. While there are good reasons to remain in one place for a while, not using the door (i.e., the same one we used to enter) to also go out into the rest of the world leads to isolation and boredom. It’s just not healthy. In fact, some would call that a prison, whether or not the door has bars on it. (And, as a reminder, if you know those who aren’t able to leave the place where they are staying, don’t forget to call, text, or visit them regularly. See Matthew 25:31-46.)
A little further into John 10, let’s take a look at more of what Jesus said:
Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.
John 10:9 NLT
Notice that there are two activities that Jesus enables His followers to achieve. First, they can come in to a place of safety and salvation through the gate (which He embodied when He paid for our sins on the cross), and that is a joyous place, indeed. To be part of the Kingdom of Heaven and the family of God is an unearned privilege, but one that we were granted as a gift…if we accept it. (Admittedly, some of the other people in that family – i.e., the church – are a little weird, but aren’t we all?)
However, it doesn’t stop there. Jesus doesn’t call us to salvation so that we can hide out until it’s time to head to Heaven. We aren’t called to stay in the fold. Like those who find the entrance to a storm shelter as the dark clouds approach, we need to head back out and invite more people in, before it’s too late! There is no shortage of room in this shelter.
So, if you have found the freedom of Jesus Christ, don’t just hide out in your church or stay sheltered with other people who are already rescued like you. Get out there (maybe figuratively or digitally, if you aren’t able to leave your current location for other reasons), and look for other lost sheep who need to find the same gate – the same doorway – to peace and purpose.
We are not just saved to stay in the pen!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.