Of Front Doors and Bible Reading

It happened again for the hundredth time just minutes ago. I wish I were kidding about this, but it is one hundred percent true.

During the past year, we installed a magnetic lock on the front door of our Church building. When myself or our office administrator is inside the building, we turn on the power lock. When someone comes to the Church building, they can open the door with a five-digit key code. If they do not have the code, they have to hit the button on the right side of the door. This rings a bell on a video monitor in our offices alerting us to someone who wants to enter. Once we are notified, we can speak to the person through the system, or we can just hit the unlock button releasing the lock.

I know it all sounds simple but believe me, it is not. At first, we tried to notify people of how it worked through weekly announcements and social media. That did not seem to help, so we placed a sign on the front door telling people to hit the button. Soon we had people who would hit the doorbell button, and I would unlock it for them, and they would just stand there. I am not joking; dozens of people thought the door now would magically open without them pulling on it. Finally, the office manager and I decided to create a new sign detailing how to get in the building. It reveals how they need to hit the button, then listens for the sound of it unlocking (a loud snap as the magnet releases) and finally, they need to pull the door open.

It all seems like an easy, foolproof plan, and yet, almost every week I sit at my desk and look at the monitor while people try to figure it out. Once again, this morning a man hit the button and stood there waiting while I hit the unlock button repeatedly.

The one flaw in our system is that you need to read the sign. When you walk up to the front door of our Church building, you must stop and read every word of the sign first. Once you read it, then you need to act accordingly. The biggest problem we are encountering is that everyone thinks they know how a door should work, so that skip the step about reading the sign. Without the proper information, they follow their instincts or experiences elsewhere, and they fail. They stand there until I come and manually open the door in front of them (often with a scowl on my face).

It seems easy enough for a child to do it. Just read and act accordingly. Yet these actions steps escape most people.

This has served to me as an analogy for Christian living. God gives us his Bible. Sure, there are some tricky and difficult passages to read and understand, but those are the minority. Most of it is easy to comprehend the message. Things like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “turn the other cheek” or “do not lie” are all straightforward. The problem is that most of us have convinced ourselves that we do not need the information found inside. We are alive and have made it this far on our own, why would we possibly want to read anything?

In 2018 one lesson I have learned is from our new door lock. Most people are unwilling to read even if it unlocks doors we want to go through. Maybe next year your world will be changed with a little reading.

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