“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” -Revelation 3:17-20 (NIV)
Just as there is “nothing new under the sun,” we realize that the church of Laodicea is not too far from the attitude of the western Christian church today. Our wealth and freedoms have also led many of us to not realize or be grateful for the abundance we experience.
In verse 19 Jesus calls the church to be “earnest and repent.” Earnest is not a word you hear too often today, but it means to be sincere, serious, intent. Too many of us are just showing up at church each week -- feeling good because we took the time, but leaving with no sincere or intent thought of the difference worship should be making in our lives. When people ask us about ourselves, Christian is not the first adjective we reach for. Riches and labels have tainted our attitudes, affected our priorities and how we identify. We need to examine our lives: are we making a sincere difference on this planet? Just as in Revelation, Jesus asks the church of today to be earnest, and to repent of our fluffy faith. Jesus is issuing a battle cry an appeal to his followers to overcome the complacency that wealth brings, to overcome the sleepy satisfaction that our freedom of religion brings.
Jesus is knocking at the door, but not as that Sunday school picture portrays. His knocking is calling us for repentance, demanding earnestness, crying out for us to overcome. He is knocking to be invited in to be part of our lives, lives that bring others hope, lives that are rich in truth and mercy. “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” he says in Revelation 3:22, and we need to listen.
About the Author
Sue Gilmore, author, activist, business woman and church worker, graduated from Bible College in the early 1980’s with a degree in Biblical Studies. Her original intent was to follow her schooling with a career in full-time Christian work, but she soon realized that her sexual orientation would not allow her to pursue her lifelong goals. Being true to herself and her sexual identity, she chose instead to pursue a business career in real estate. From the beginning of her career, Sue found that her newly chosen path suited her God-given talents, and proved to be rewarding and satisfying. Now almost thirty years later, she is the Vice President and Regional Manager for one of the largest Title Insurance companies in the nation.