September 20, 2020

The picture at the top of this post is a metaphor that is the inspiration of today’s article. It’s often said that a picture is worth 1,000 words.  That’s certainly true with this picture.

I first saw this picture inside a bible that my grandmother Pansy Plumley bought me for a Christmas gift when I was seven or eight years old.  There were many pictures in this bible. At the time, my favorite pictures were of David challenging Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, Peter walking on water, and Jonah in the belly of the big fish. The captions with the pictures also had the location in the Bible where one could look up and read all about the picture. But as a youth, I never did that.

As I became a teenager and began to feel that God was dealing with me about entering the ministry, I started reading my Bible more.  At my first attempt at reading and studying, I read the entire Bible from cover to cover. During this first reading of the entire Bible, I discovered for myself the verses that went with all the pictures I had seen in that first Bible that my grandmother had bought me as a child.  Of course, there was the verse concerning the picture shown at the top of today’s blog post – Jesus standing at the door knocking. That verse can be found at Revelation 3:20. It reads: “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.” KJV.

Eventually, I did enter the ministry and pastored churches in Arkansas for 50 years before retiring in January of 2019. My first year at seminary, the library was having a book sale to get rid of books that were outdated and out of print.  As I browsed the many tables piled high with books, I found an old book that told about the many pictures found in bibles and the artist who painted them. I bought the book. I felt that for the $1.00 price tag, it would be worth reading.

I found out when I got to the picture of Jesus standing at the door knocking, that the original artist who painted the picture was William Holman Hunt. He painted the picture in 1853. The book I bought told an interesting story about the painting as Hunt was in the process of painting it.  A bystander who was watching Hunt paint the picture asked, “Didn’t you forget something on that painting? There’s no doorknob on the door.”

Hunt explained that the door represented man’s heart. He said that there was not supposed to be a doorknob on the outside – that the door could only be opened from the inside.

It was always my experience throughout my ministry that Jesus never pushed His way into anybody’s heart; that the person who Jesus was inviting into His life, had to open the door himself. Sometimes Jesus has to knock and give many chances and opportunities to get people to open up and let Him come in. Unfortunately, some people never open that door.

A few weeks ago, I was putting the finishing touches on decorating my office. Yes, after living in our new house in Longview, Texas, after our move from Arkansas about a year and a half ago.

I had several pictures I wanted to hang on the walls. One was a reproduction of a piece of the calligraphy of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The original calligraphy was done by one of my parishioners’ father-in-law over 100 years ago. So I got it hung in a good place.

Then I had a photograph of Sandra when she was 15 ½ years old. That’s when we first started dating. She was my childhood sweetheart and soon we will have been married for 55 years.

Then I had a big space on the wall above my desk that needed something. I decided to order a painting of Jesus standing at the door knocking. It is the same size as my Gettysberg Address calligraphy, about 18”x 22”.  It looks good above my desk.

I have already had several persons ask why I chose that particular picture. I explain that it means more to me than any other picture painted by one of the old masters. That door was one I had to open by myself. Nobody could do it for me. It was the wisest decision I ever made. That’s why this post has as the title, “WHEN HE KNOCKS, OPEN.”

Once you open that door, you will be asked to do may things by Jesus. One is found in Matthew 16:24. It says, “Then Jesus said unto his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”  Elsewhere we are told His burden is light.

That’s just one reason I said, “When He knocks, open.”  It will be a great decision – one you’ll never forget or regret.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley

Please share!