We lived in a small Northern Alberta community where a quality restaurant was a real treasure. Jake was new and he opened a quality restaurant. He rented space in an old hotel, bought equipment, hired and trained his staff. He painted the walls, added decorations, bought table coverings and put a candle on each table. For added impact staff would re-light the candle for each new guest. A simple touch, to make you feel special.
Jake provided six weeks of great service before his Grand Opening. The Mayor proclaimed it Jakes Day; flyers were in our mail boxes and on every windshield in church parking lots. Everything was set. Candles were ready. Table cloths were straightened, pictures and chairs were dusted. There were balloons in the restaurant, the street outside was filled w
ith the aroma of an afternoon meal and all the excitement of a great Grand Opening.
Our family of five arrived ready for a feast, to find the main door of the hotel locked. We bought crackers at the grocery store for our hungry kids. Other families were parked outside. The next half-hour came and drifted hungrily by. With the door still locked, we left wondering what happened to Jakes Grand Opening.
I went to see Jake early Monday morning. His lesson still impacts me today. Jake thought he was ready. The food was cooking, the tables were set and the staff were ready. As Jake put it, “the air of excitement in the restaurant was electric.” Jake and his staff were all prepared on the inside while the needy customers were ready on the outside. However, Jake had missed a significant point. No one remembered to unlock the outside door on the hotel. One simple locked door kept customers from the food inside.
During my sermon the next Sunday we shared how our church may be like Jakes’ restaurant. On the inside we love God’s truth. Yet, the world is on the outside.
Is there a locked door in your church? What is keeping visitors from coming, learning and staying? Is it your style of dress, your music or a tradition that keeps people away?
Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy