(Matthew 23:3-4, 13 ESV) 3 So do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. … 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.
There was a time in my life when I was unwilling to answer the call of God upon my life. Having grown up in a pastors home, I was well aware of the challenges that every minister faces when serving the body of Christ. With that said, when I finally affirmed and committed to my calling, I discovered joys that I did not expect.
With any calling, whether it is a father who provides for his family, a mother who nurtures her children, or an ambassador for Christ in the workplace there comes a great responsibility to be faithful.
The scripture today reveals a terrible wrong that was being committed against people who were seeking the truth of the gospel. The scribes and Pharisees–people whose primary responsibility was to unlock the scripture–were instead shutting the kingdom of heaven to those who were seeking. They did this in two ways: (1) They did not take advantage of the opportunities to learn from scripture themselves, and (2) they prevented seekers by placing heavy requirements of the law that they were unable to bear. The high level of frustration caused the people to give up their search for the truth.
Luke is a little more direct in his description. (Luke 11:52 HCSB) 52 “Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.”
Each of us are called by God to represent Him to the world. He expects us to prepare ourselves for the opportunities that come before us. As I study the Bible and spend time in prayerful communion with the Lord, my knowledge expands and equips me to open the door of knowledge to those who are diligently seeking.
One of my greatest desires is to remain faithful to the call. God desires that we open doors–not close them–so that seekers may find Him. Our world needs to experience Christ! It is up to us to spread the good news of the gospel!
PRAYER: Father, it is my desire to unlock as many doors as I can to grant access to those who may be seeking you. Forgive the times that I have failed to do so because of my lack of scriptural understanding. I commit myself anew to the study of your word so that I may be adequately prepared to share confidently when opportunities arise. Amen.