Knock, Knock. Who's There?
The following Elder's Epistle was written by Brett Carlson for our November newsletter.
In the life of some children, this was and maybe still a popular, innocent fun game. The “Knock knock” game. Do you remember? Here is one from the past to jog your memory. Knock knock, who’s there? Old Lady. Old Lady who? I did not know you could yodel. Ha! Just a simple “knock knock” joke. Kids would go on and on laughing and coming up with creative “knock knock, who’s there” fun.
For over 35 years I have been observing people and their habits, disciplines, actions, demeanors, etc. I am intrigued by people who go around to neighborhoods knocking on doors. There are some service people like cable and internet folks, salespeople looking for some kind of sale for books or the scouts selling food products, cookies and popcorn and over time many people do not open their doors like they did in days of old.
Times have changed, neighborhoods are not as safe as they were in past and many of us are “skeptical” about who may be on the other side of the door who is knocking. We may look out the window from an adjoining room to “see” who is behind the knocking of the door. We may remain silent until they go away. Not knowing “Who’s there” can put knots in our stomach from the sound of the knock knock, and this is no joke.
There are a couple of religious groups who canvas neighborhoods and go “door to door” knocking away and ringing doorbells, hoping to engage with the person on the other side of the door. They are very well trained; ready and equipped to give an account for the hope they have within them. They want to share the good news of their gospel with anyone who will crack the door to listen. They usually travel in twos, sometimes threes (if one is in training) and leave behind reading materials if the doors are not opened. If opened, they immediately engage the person on the other side of the door with conversation and wellplanned questions and a following agenda to help the person understand the coming of “Paradise and heaven on earth.”
If the average “Christian church goer” or past tense “church goer” opens the door and tries to engage with these folks, before long, confusion and a lack of Biblical knowledge to fend off this dark wave of somewhat convincing rising tide of seemingly spiritual logic, ends with the closing of the door and not taking the free magazine that explains the “paradise” of their gospel. The person on the inside of the door usually feels ill equipped to challenge the statements, claims and their sacred book findings of the “uninvited” guests.
“And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt— but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that men should repent.
The last time I wrote this Elders Epistle was on the topic of discipleship and I am wondering for those reading this letter, how are you, how am I doing on:
1. Being a disciple and
2. Making disciples
I am currently facilitating an Adult Sunday school class called Evangelism for the Tongue-Tied and we are seeing really how easy it is to be led by the spirit to be able to knock on the hearts of anyone we encounter, yes anyone. Knocking on their heart is a picture of deliberately “engaging them” in a relevant conversation that may lead (by your sensitivity and the power of the Holy Spirit) to the “interests” of God. As we travel through our “neighborhoods” of life: time in our workplace, time in our pleasure spots, spending time with neighbors, saying hello to the person with the “homeless will work for food” sign, talking with the stranger in the grocery store stocking shelves, engaging in light conversation with the single mom at the check-out stand, thanking the crossing guard down on your street corner, saying a kind word to the person who holds the door open for you as you enter a building in the pouring rain.
Have we been “summoned” as mentioned in Mark 6:7 to preach repentance as shown in verse 12? There are so many ways to knock on the door of a stranger’s heart and after we knock a few times we may ask out loud “is anybody home?”
Sometimes while at home, I may hear the knock on my door and then another knock and then I might ask “Who is it?” and I hear the familiar voice of a friend or an acquaintance say “Hi Brett. It is your neighbor Rob.” What a great feeling and the door gently opens. The kind voice, the comforting voice, the familiar voice opens the door.
We need to speak out and share our faith as the Holy Spirit prompts us with Holy Boldness as we are ambassadors of God clothed with immense Power.
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. We need to be sensitive to hear the “voice of the Lord” and reach out to people who need to repent of sin.
So many opportunities, so many missed. Slow us down and please forgive us, Lord.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
In the passage above I find it interesting that this verse is not really contingent on the “knocking” on the door as many people seem to think. The knocking on the door may get our attention. The knocking on the door redirects our thinking temporarily.
The verse says “if any man hear my voice (not the sound of the knocking on the door but the sound of His voice!) and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me.”
We need to speak the truth in love, use our voices for praise and follow the promptings from the Holy Spirit to use our voices to “knock on the doors of strangers’ hearts” so that the Lord can enter in and change a life. A kind word, and encouraging word, a kind gesture, a word of strength, a word of hope, a word of interest in another person’s life may be the “knock” that opens the door of their heart to eternity. Let’s get knocking!
Knock Knock, who’s there? ZEKE, Zeke who? Zeke and you shall find.