HAVE YOU ANY ROOM FOR JESUS?
We are familiar with the story of how Joseph, and Mary (expecting the birth of her Child), arrived in Bethlehem. They found it a beehive of noisy confusion, and we’re told, “There was no room for them in the inn” (Lk. 2:7) The poor innkeeper has long been criticized and berated for turning them away. But of course he had no idea who they were, or of the wonderful event that would transpire during the night. And, in reality, he did not turn them away. He apparently found them a place that was warm and dry, out in the stable.
But while we point our fingers at the innkeeper--perhaps unjustly--we must attend to our own response to Christ. Is it possible that in our own lives we have turned Him away, that we have made no room for Him? Or is it possible that where there was once a generous place for Him, other things have begun to crowd Him out?
In the book of Revelation, we read of the Lord Jesus saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). Sometimes, that verse is used as an individual call to trust Christ for salvation. However, in the context, the words are directed to a church. In John’s day, the church at Laodicea was wealthy and self-satisfied. But its wealth was material, not spiritual. Spiritually, the Lord describes the congregation as “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (vs. 17). About the things of God, they were merely “lukewarm” (vs. 15-16). Though they may have had all the right ceremonies, and clearly were impressed with themselves, they had shut Christ out. His name may have been found in their rituals, but He had ceased to be a living presence in their church life.
Major Daniel Webster Whittle (1840-1901) was a veteran of the American Civil War, who later went into evangelistic work. In 1878, he revised a poem from an unknown source, and turned it into a hymn. His hymn is based upon Revelation 3:20, and in it he raises the crucial question, “Have You Any Room for Jesus?” The song begins, “Have you any room for Jesus, He who bore your load of sin? / As He knocks and asks admission, sinner, will you let Him in?”
Though Whittle intended it as an invitation to salvation, it remains a question worth asking by every child of God as well. Our lives sometimes bustle with even more hectic activity than the inn at Bethlehem. Not that the things that occupy us are necessarily wrong or sinful. More often, it is a case of the good crowding out the best. And for that reason, we need to periodically assess our priorities. Perhaps we have made room for family and friends, room for hobbies, room for what we desire to do, but what about the Saviour? The second verse of our hymn says, “Room for pleasure, room for business, / But for Christ the crucified, / Not a place that He can enter, / In the heart for which He died.” What a tragedy!
Perhaps the Lord Jesus has been shunted off into a corner of our busy days, to a spot labeled “Church Stuff,” or something of the kind. Perhaps we expect Him to be content with being a part of our Sunday morning tradition, between eleven and noon, then letting us do our own thing the rest of the time. What an insult to the One whom Scripture says is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Every aspect and area of our lives should be open and accessible to such a One. His lordship ought to extend to every part. That is justly His right. It is not for us to say to the Lord, “No room!”