Recently my wife and I went out for lunch, it was right after church and when we pulled in the restaurant parking lot, it was starting to fill up. I dropped my wife off at the door to get in line to find a table for us. It took a while for me to find a parking spot since the lunch rush was just about to explode, and all I could think of as I parked was how long it would take for us to be seated.
As I walked to the front door of the restaurant, I saw an elderly couple approaching too. I hurried ahead of them and opened the door for them. Even though I wanted to join my lovely wife as soon as possible, immediately I saw another couple walking up, so I held the door open for them. Then a young family was walking to the door too, so I held the door open for them too.
I’m not bragging about being polite. Trust me, normally I would hold the door open for an elderly couple anyday but then I would follow and simply walk on in. I certainly didn’t plan to hold the door for that many people. But it struck me as I held the door -- it’s easier to hold the door open for others when you know your seat is being secured. Maybe that’s why Jesus tells us in John 14 He’s going to prepare a place for us, maybe it’s to help us feel secure, even confident.
I don’t believe in the doctrine of “Once saved, always saved,” but here’s the spiritual overlap to holding the door open during the lunch rush -- when people are confident in their relationship with God, I think they feel less threatened by other people. Whether it’s by new ideas or by doctrines they don’t agree with, when you are confidently close to God, you stop seeing other people as your competition. And, overall, confident people are less judgmental. When we trust God loves us and has forgiven us, we are free from the mental trap that God will accept me as long as I’m better than others or when I have a better understanding of the Bible than “they” do.
There’s a problem with thinking your church/denomination is the only group of Christians going to heaven -- none of us are perfect in our knowledge or how we practice our faith. Of course there are cults and yes there are groups who claim to know God, but really don’t. Even so, with the imposters and the false teachers out there, this doesn't’ mean there’s no one else on the right path besides your tribe.
Even Jesus’ closest disciples seemed to wrestle with this. I don’t know if they were overzealous, or if they were insecure. But one thing is certain, even though they didn’t want other people to make claims on Jesus that they thought were theirs exclusively, Jesus didn’t agree with their position, “38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.”” (Mk 9:38-41)
It’s one thing to be blessed, it’s quite another to be blessed and to know it. Those who are blessed but ignore the fact they are blessed are usually thought of as being snobbish or as whiners. A lifetime of reading has filled my head with priceless treasures; having a great wife to share life with has filled my heart with immeasurable joy; serving a God who has set my heart on fire has brought me endless gratitude. The more blessed I feel, the less worried I am. And, the more blessed I am, the easier it is to smile when I see other people walking through open doors or pearly gates.