Summary: Christians have an obligation to assist those outside of the Church to find the Door; we are to be doormen not gatekeepers.

I Stand at the Door Revelation 3__20

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.

Rev 3:20

Friends at Good Shepherd:

Sam Shoemaker saw himself as a doorkeeper in the house

of the Lord.

He wrote an apologia for his life entitled, I

Stand By The Door. This is what he said in it.


I stand by the door.

I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out.

The door is the most important door in the world –

It is the door through which men walk when they find


There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,

When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,

Crave to know where the door is.

And all that so many ever find

Is only the wall where a door ought to be.

They creep along the wall like blind men,

With far outstretched, groping hands.

Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,

Yet they never find it.....

So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world

Is for men to find that door - the door to God.

The most important thing any man can do

Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,

And put it on the latch - the latch that only clicks

And opens to the man’s own touch.

Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die

On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter –

Die for want of what is within their grasp.

They live, on the other side of it - live because they

have not found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,

And open it, and walk in, and find Him....

So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.

Some people get part way in and become afraid

Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;

For God is so very great, and asks all of us.

And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia.

And want to get out. ’Let me out!’ they cry.

And the people way inside only terrify them more.

Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they

are spoiled

For the old life, they have seen too much:

Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.

Somebody must be watching for the frightened

Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,

To tell them how much better it is inside.

The people too far in do not see how near these are

To leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all.

Somebody must watch for those who have entered the


But would like to run away. So for them too,

I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.

But I wish they would not forget how it was

Before they got in. Then they would be able to help

The people who have not yet even found the door,

Or the people who want to run away again from God.

You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,

And forget the people outside the door.

As for me I shall take my old accustomed place,

Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,

But not so far from men as not to hear them,

And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door –

Thousands of them, millions of them.

But - more important for me –

One of them, two of them, ten of them,

Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.

So shall I stand by the door and wait

For those who seek it.

’I had rather be a doorkeeper.....’

So I stand by the door.

By Sam Shoemaker who lived from 1893 to 1963.


Sam Shoemaker was an Episcopal minister at Calvary

Episcopal Church in New York City, and Calvary

Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh.

He was responsible for many of the ideas that were

incorporated into the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics

Anonymous, and ministered to some of the founding

members of AA.

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know when

the owner of the house will come back - whether in the

evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or

at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you

sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone,

’Watch!’" (Mark 13:34-37)

Jesus tells us to stand by the door and watch. We all

have an assigned task to fulfill while we are on this

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