Walter invited his good friend Arthur to take a ride with him out into the county. They drove past groves of fruit trees and dilapidated shacks to an area that looked to Arthur like a barren wasteland. Walter began telling his friend about the exciting plans he had for this boring parcel of land southeast of downtown Los Angeles, California. Walter’s express purpose was to give Arthur the opportunity to become an investor in his dream.
Walter had enough money for the main project, but he wanted to ensure that the land surrounding his venture would be bought up at the same time. He was confident that within five years the whole area would be filled with hotels, restaurants, and even a convention center serving the throngs of people who came to visit his development.
But Walter’s friend, radio and television personality Art Linkletter (born a Canadian but living in the United States), could not see the potential and turned down the opportunity to buy up the area of land that now surrounds Disneyland, the dream of his friend, Walt Disney. Today that “barren wasteland” in Orange County, California, is worth billons of dollars.
How would you feel if you were Art Linkletter? While open doors of opportunity that size come along rarely, if ever, for people like you and me, there are many smaller doors of opportunity that are presented to us on a daily basis. God constantly invites us to trust Him and experience ever-expanding dimensions of His faithfulness and blessing. But far too often we are like the hesitant Linkletter. We hang back, not sure of what we should do. Or we walk away from the open door altogether. We allow fear and feeble faith to quench the fire of passion for a product, a project, or a plan God has put in our heart.
Why do we so often freeze up on the threshold of a God-given opportunity? I believe that many Christians fail to walk through God’s open doors because of a faulty view of God. We see Him as incapable of taking care of us in a new and possibly risky venture. Our we fear that, once we walk through the open door, He will slam it behind us and leave us to fend for ourselves. We often cannot step out because our faith in God is feeble. If we had a childlike, trusting attitude towards our heavenly Father, we would walk confidently through the door He holds open for us.
It’s all an issue of trust, isn’t it? In one nation in which I work they have “In God We Trust” engraved on their coins. But, is it engraved upon our hearts? When the big decisions really come down to the moment of truth, do you really believe Go will care for you?
You may remember what Jesus observed about His own hometown, Nazareth. Mark 6:5-6 tells us, “And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief.” I wonder how many people could have the same thing said about them: “He could do no mighty work in his/her life.”
God forbid that Jesus Christ should marvel at my unbelief or yours. Imagine how He must feel because He is the opener and closer of all doors. He is the creator of every opportunity and the master of every mission. When He opens a door, we need only walk through. But I’m like you; I hesitate for a moment. After all, it’s dark on the other side. We don’t know what lies in there!
Living with passion requires us to walk by faith — to go to the edge of the light that we have and take one more step. God gives me only the briefest, dimmest glimpse of what lies over the threshold of the door He is opening. He smiles because He knows that this next step, this hard step, will be a real character builder — a faith investment. As a result the next time I step through an open door, I’ll have an ounce more faith.
The apostle John wrote from his exile on the Isle of Patmos to the Church in Philadelphia. He encouraged that church and us with these words, ““And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:7-8)
God opens doors … and we need to trust Him and walk through the door that He is holding open for us.
More next time