A tale shared by Larry Mitchell last week in Training School…as recalled by myself. Sit back and listen (read) and imagine Larry’s voice sharing these carefully chosen words, picturesque images, edge of your seat moments, and of course-a tale for the ages in classic Larry style.
“Just as I came towards the end of my time at Indiana Weslean, there were often times that I would travel and speak at various churches, sit with groups of up and coming leaders and young college students as they stepped in to that next chapter of their life that was quickly approaching – whether they liked it or not. Often times when I would travel, I would stay at hotels, church accommodations, but for the most part-homes of those that invited me to come and speak.
At one point I was staying at this couple’s house. It was just the two of them and they had me over, put me up in a room, and things were very nice. The two of them were going out on the night that I arrived, and just before they headed out for the evening, they said, “Make yourself at home, food is in the kitchen, take whatever you need.” So they left and I dilly-dallied for a bit, but once they were gone, I began to look around the house. It was a nice house, old-with that refurbished feel-they had obviously taken some time to fix the place up and tend to some details that had long gone ill-maintained and taken a back seat. I peeked in the rooms, gandered into some closets getting an idea of their style, clothing choice, a brief look at to how they present themselves. It was quite interesting.
After about 30 minutes I made my way into the master bedroom and went up to this tall chest of drawers, opened the first one…sweaters, lots of sweaters. The second one held socks, belts, ties-all lined up in order. Under one of the socks, I noticed a key. As you know, I’ve got an alter assassin ego within, and the mystery struck me and I looked around the room. On the side, over against the wall, was a roll top desk-a locked roll top desk in fact. Locked desk, key in a drawer hidden away. So I took the key, walked over to the desk, inserted into the slot and what would you know, the latch turned.
As the latch turned, the wooden ridge slats rose and inside were papers, notebooks, pens, staplers, tape, all types of officey types of materials. I noticed his bank ledger sitting there. I opened it up, took a peek, and of course found all kinds of scratched out mistakes. Now, I do the books for our family, Kelly can’t stand to, funny how it is her job, but I do all the taxes and money figures, even do it for other people. So I looked at his mistakes, saw where there were many, and fixed them for him. It was simple, because I went back and saw the mistake that made every one there after fall a bit short, so with a little bit of this and that, everything else seemed to flow and make more sense.
On the side of the desk in a cubby hole towards the left there was also a bundle of letters all tied with string. It was a whole collection, a mess of letters that looked like they had been collected for quite some time-I was intrigued. So I took the letters, walked over to the bed, untied the string, and started to read them. I started with the one with the oldest postage date, and went one by one through almost all of them. They were a collection of love letters that my new friend had written to his wife when they started courting years prior. They were beautiful, so much so that I lost track of the time. It had gotten late and I was startled when standing at the bedroom door, was my friend, furious at what he saw. He yelled at the top of his lungs in horror, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!” His wife was beside herself, she couldn’t believe that I was sitting there-on their bed-reading these letters that were written personally to her with love and devotion. He continued yelling in shock, I sat there stunned. He asked for an explanation as he clearly was about to kick me out of the house. I simply told him, “You told me to make myself at home.” He didn’t like my answer to say the least.
I’m thankful for Larry’s story. For in it, it brings to light as followers of Jesus in today’s world, we often ask him to “Come into our heart” as the cliché goes and “make himself at home”. We want to turn over our lives for Him, give Him our all, turn from our sin-our separation from Him, and follow in His ways.
How often though do I invite Him in and say you can have it all, but really, there are some rooms and places I really don’t want you to go nudging through? I think that there are many times when my rooms all “look clean and tidy”, yet all I’ve done is shove all kinds of stuff under the bed, behind the curtains, inside the closet. I stand there nervously with him as we go in to the room together and beads of sweat drip, afraid that if he were to turn the handle to that door, all kinds of things would come pouring out and make a mess all over the place.
However, the beautiful thing I’m imagining in regards to letting Jesus in, is that yes, we may just indeed pull up everything that is crammed under the bed, shoved in the closet and hidden in the dark corners of my room, but I would love to think that in doing all of that, we’d just stand there together, side by side, looking at all that crap. May even stand there for quite some time without saying a word with pursed lips, holding our chins with crossed arms, simply thinking together how to best start sorting it all out. In a confident voice He’d start off saying, “Okay, now this…” and pick up the first object and the journey would continue.
So I ask, how are our rooms? What posture have we held when we invite Jesus in? Are there spaces in the recesses of our hearts where Jesus is wanting to simply stand together with us and acknowledge there are things that he wants to pick up and say, “What about this?” How would you respond?