Links Daily Devotional

The Open Door

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:8, NIV)

I’m still trying to figure out how open the US Open really is.

Religion closes doors. Almost by nature, it says that the religious leaders get to assemble the checklists that determine who’s in and who’s out.The number of amateurs who qualified to play this year—14 of them—was the third highest total ever for the championship. That’s a good sign that “anyone” can make it.

The site was a new one, requiring a strategy of positioning rather than the more typical US Open strategy of shaping. America is a big place. We have far more than one brand of golf course to choose from. The move to Erin Hills emphasized this variety and also fed the openness of the US Open.

But not everyone was happy. Where was the traditional struggle for par? Why were the fairways so wide? Who cut down all the trees? When I read concerns like these, I think maybe the US Open isn’t supposed to be so open after all. From this angle, the courses should all make the same demands and produce the same results. Logically, the tighter we close the parameters of what a US Open course should look like, the smaller we make the circle of those whose games can win.

And here I get to thinking of religion. It’s not only the basilica on Holy Hill above Erin Hills’ expansive eighteenth hole that takes me there. Rather, it’s this matter of openness.

Religion closes doors. Almost by nature, it says that the religious leaders get to assemble the checklists that determine who’s in and who’s out. If you look like we do, we’ll welcome you in. If you do it our way, you can have a place among us. If you toe the line, we’ll call you a member. Dem’s da rules.

The way Jesus lived and taught established a different approach. The door, he said, was open. More precisely, it had been opened. And the invitation emphasized openness, too. It sounded like this: “Do you have little strength? Come on in. In fact, all the better, for the contrite of heart I will not despise and the poor in spirit receive the kingdom of heaven.” And while Jesus spoke these words in the past tense of his historical life, they carry present tense value for us. The invitation is open, his voice calls to you.

As with the church in Philadelphia addressed in Revelation 3, Jesus is showing you an open door. Keep his word, hold to his name—these are the ways you walk through it, no matter who you are, no matter where you come from.

Jeff Hopper
June 21, 2017
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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.