“These are the words of Him…who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut and what He shuts no one can open…See I have placed before you an open door.” (Revelation 3:7)
Solomon tells us that God has a plan for our lives which includes opportunities every day to respond to God in ways that glorify Him (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Within this plan John tells us in the Book of Revelation that God opens the door for us to respond to the opportunity for salvation as well as the responsibility of service. It is therefore important that we are alert to these opportunities and that we seize them when they occur.
Take the opportunity of salvation, for example. In the parable of the sower and the seeds Jesus reminds us that not everyone takes the opportunity to receive the word in a proper way. Some people seize it eagerly and make the most of the opportunity, whereas others never allow Scripture to transform their hearts and lives. God gives us this opportunity every time the gospel is preached to us. Sadly, some people pass it up. In doing so, we lose a blessing and bring judgment on ourselves. This explains why the apostle Paul pleads with the Corinthians to open their hearts and receive the gospel whenever it is proclaimed; there is nothing else more urgent or important than responding to God’s call of salvation (2 Cor 6:1, 2). The question is: Have we responded to God’s call in the gospel? Have we received Christ as Lord and Saviour? Walk through that open door.
There is another opportunity that we need to seize as well. It’s the open door for evangelism and service. Christ’s commands the church to seize favourable opportunities to preach the Word and perform good works. In 1266 Marco Polo returned from China with an extraordinary request from Kublai Khan, one of the tyrannical Mongol rulers of China, whose dynasty had been responsible for killing six million people in Europe and Asia. Kublai asked whether the West would send to China one hundred missionaries ‘wise in learning and in Christian religion’. ‘If the Church could send such missionaries’, he promised, ‘he and all his potentates would become men of the church.’
This was one of the most amazing open doors in history, yet the church in the West dithered. Instead of the hundred missionaries requested by Kublai, a solitary Franciscan, Giovanni of Monte Corvino (1246-1329), arrived. This happened some thirty years later in 1294. Giovanni was able to do some work in Beijing – he apparently baptized six thousand people – but the work was limited because the West did not seize the opportunity the moment the door was opened. When doors for service open, we need to have willing hearts to walk through them.