Sermon Illustrations

“Door Knights Without Maidens!” John 17:13-19 Key verse(s): 17-19:“‘Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into this world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.’”

Ingratitude. Doesn’t it seem sometimes that we live in a world that has forgotten entirely how to be grateful for anything? We take so much for granted these days, including the kindnesses and benevolences of others. Perhaps it is because we just don’t have to work as hard to get things as we used to.

I am one of those throw-backs that loves to hold doors for people. When I approach a door to a public building it has always been a habit of mine to cast a quick look over my shoulder to see if there might be anyone, especially some stranger or person weighted by some burden, for which I might at least be able to hold the door for. I enjoy doing this little service and the joy I derive from it far outweighs the benefit others derive from it. Unfortunately, in a culture so steeped with the “I’m as good as you!” attitude, my willingness to hold the door or help someone on with their jacket is often misinterpreted as “aggressive” behavior to be wary of, even indignant of.

Recently I had the occasion to go to the library. The library has always be a great place to practice “door chivalry”, especially the old libraries. In days gone by, library doors were always big, heavy things that swung on huge hinges. On a windy day it was not uncommon for a library door to become stubborn, even cantankerous at the idea of being opened. Unfortunately, libraries of today, as is true of our local library, have doors that open with the press of a button making door chivalry difficult if not comical. Fortunately for “knights” like myself, most buildings still have the manual entry doors that require in the very least some effort to pull them open. Such is the case with our library. I always head for the manual access doors in the hopes that some fair maiden might happen along with an armful of books or I might spy a beleaguered mother with child in arms that would appreciate the assistance. Such was the case the other day as I reached for the door handle and did my area check. Sure enough, not more than ten paces behind me was a young lady with a backpack slung over one shoulder and a laptop case on the other. I could see by the way she was grasping the straps that neither was cooperating very well. What a fortuitous opportunity to practice door chivalry I thought to myself. Grasping the handle, I opened the door wide and stepped aside anticipating the smile that always makes a “door knight” feel so good deep down inside. As I turned to face my maiden in distress I immediately noted that it did not look as if she was at all interested in accommodating me. She veered to the right and headed directly for the automatic door. Pushing the button she looked in my direction and gave me one of those blank stares that leave you completely empty. And she was gone. I was left with only a little wisp of a leaf that blew by me and settled on the debris mat inside the door. I felt like the opera clown; a situation into which I had poured myself earnestly had become a mere comedy.

When we are in the world, sometimes our best efforts are often rewarded with little more than disdain. Holy living, sanctified attempts at serving our God, often go unappreciated by those of the world. This can be disheartening to say the least, especially when you give it your all. Truly sanctified by the blood of Christ, He who came to serve without being served, is not always the rewarding blessing we think it should be. But that is the way of sanctification. Every day of our lives Christ is at work in our hearts, hammering away at the Old Man and installing the New Man within us. In a sense it is like God has put a “Savior At Work!” sign upon our hearts. While that sign is in place there is always the danger of pitfalls and accidents. Unfinished work is of that nature.

The process of being made holy is never ending. We reach the end only when we leave this earth. In between time we need to be prepared for many blank looks from those we serve. Being set apart, sanctified, for works of service has its rewards to be sure. A Christian needs to understand that when he does good, he does so principally for God and not for others. We are not in this world to serve others, but to serve our Holy God who day by day is preparing us for that day when He will stand at our heart’s door holding the door for us to eternity. We shall look up into our Savior’s face and thank Him personally for giving us entry. So, as I watched that young lady pass me by leaving me holding the door, I was disappointed but not discouraged. For I know that my Savior took the opportunity to walk through that open door even if she did not. And, when you think about it, no “door knight” could ask for better service than that.

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