Are you Sure you Want a Room? Nothing Works Here!


Is Jesus always welcome in our churches?

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." (Mark 7:6-7 NIV)

Our trek from Watson Lake, Yukon to Fort Nelson, B.C. had been tiring, to say the least. We had enjoyed the views, as well as the many four-footed stranglers on the Alaska Highway, but now we were struggling to stay awake at the wheel, and we were already anticipating a good night's rest at the reputable hotel we had reserved.

We began to worry the moment we entered town. The hotel our GPS guided us to didn't bear exactly the same name as the one we had reserved . . . Oh well, maybe it had been "upgraded" in its chain . . .

It soon became apparent that this was just the opposite of what had happened. As soon as we entered the lobby, the receptionist received us in a very unusual way: "Welcome. We used to be one of the top hotels in our chain, but we've been downgraded."

My curiosity was pricked, and I asked the inevitable question: "How come?" I should have just kept my mouth shut...

"We don't meet the standards anymore. Most of our rooms are out of commission. Some have broken air-conditioners, others have broken TVs, and still others haven't even been cleaned, as our maid service isn't very reliable. Oh, and if you expect to eat here, you'd better make other plans! The kitchen has been closed for obvious reasons…"

My mouth must have dropped open, and in all honesty, I was wondering if we would have an air-conditioner that worked and whether or not our room had even been made up!

The man behind the desk must have noticed my gaping jaw: "Oh, don't worry," he said. "I have a few clean rooms, and if your air conditioning isn't functioning, I'll switch you to a different room, free of charge." I expected him to add: "Are you sure you still want a room?", but he didn't.

I already knew that most hotels along the Alaska Highway were solidly booked, and I also knew there weren't any other hotels for another 200 kms. What choice did I have but to try the room he offered me? Using the creaking baggage-cart, whose front wheels refused to turn, we cautiously entered our room. To our surprise, everything was clean and both the air-exchanger and the TV were functioning. In fact, we could tell that this particular hotel had once been a luxury hotel, and despite our ominous receptionist, the room he assigned us was quite nice. The only problem we could identify was that we couldn't find the remote for the TV. We didn't plan to use it, but we knew that hotels sometimes charge when such things go missing, and not wishing to be charged, we reported it to our more-than-friendly receptionist.

"Oh, don't worry!" he said. "Most of the rooms are missing remotes!"

How comforting!

In thinking back on the experience, we had entered the hotel expecting superior service, but the hotel hadn't lived up to its claim. It didn't even belong to the famous chain of hotels any longer. What used to be luxury had somehow become second-rate.

This isn't much different with Christianity, is it? How many churches pretend to be Christian (a group of people who solely follow Jesus Christ), but propagate their own agenda and legalistic doctrines instead? On the flip side, how many congregations broadcast a living that isn't much unlike from the life of non-believers? The only difference is that they ask you to go to church once a week. We, as believers, can be living defeated lives as well, when we don't believe in the super power that God has promised us!

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms," (Eph 1:18-20 NIV)

How can we believe, if we don't take the time to walk with our Maker, if we don't make the time to intimately fellowship with the One who really loves us, if we neglect reading the love letters He has given to us through His Word, the Bible? Remember: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…" (Col 3:16 NIV); and "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe." (1 Thess 2:13 NIV)

Let's stop pretending to be Christians. Instead, let's start putting Jesus FIRST in our lives. Then and only then can we truly claim to be Christians.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matt 16:24 NIV)

Christianity is alive and working wonders, not because of its institution, but because of its founder, who is alive and empowers anyone who believes! "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." (John 14:12-13 NIV)

Do you need a room by any chance? I know of a hotel where nothing works...

Rob Chaffart

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