The Master’s Lock
- January 8, 2020
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps. – 1 Peter 2:21
For several years, I worked as the athletic director of a K-8 school. The job featured many exciting responsibilities and many, many mundane ones. One of the more important and least impressive jobs that I had every year was the task of distributing combination locks to the students for use in the locker rooms. We provided the locks so that we’d have easy access to open them if needed. But because the students bought the locks from the school, I was also tasked with the “important” job of teaching the students how to open the lock.
If you know how to open a combination lock, it’s easy. First, you must spin the combination dial a minimum of two full revolutions in a clockwise direction, stopping on the first number of the combination. From there, you make a full revolution counter-clockwise before stopping on the second number. Finally, you turn the dial clockwise again until you get to the third number of the combination then pull. Simple right?
Not really. Every year when I passed out the locks to our new fifth grade class, I always added a few extra minutes into the schedule to teach the kids how to open their locks. This wasn’t designed to embarrass anyone. The bottom line was for many of these kids this was the first time they’d ever been asked to open a combination lock. Opening these types of locks for years has a way of making me forget how tricky it was the first time I had to try when I was a fifth grader. We often forget that most anything is easy if you know what you’re doing.
So once again, I’ve shared with you information that you read and think to yourself, “Duh! Thanks Captain Obvious.” Identifying letters and colors became easy once we learned them. So did reading, blowing a bubble, and tying your shoes. So why did I choose opening a lock for my analogy? It’s because unlike these other things which can be learned and perfected in many different ways, there is only one way to successfully open a combination lock: follow the procedure exactly. In many ways, the choices that the world gives us are like those many other tasks I’d had listed above. When it comes to learning how to excel at those things, there are lots of different processes from which to choose. But because the lock only opens one way it is essential to know the specific steps and follow them perfectly.
Of course, there is another way that you can get around the procedures and open the lock. You can get a pair of bolt cutters and cut it open. This is an effective method, but it also creates a lot of unwanted consequences. Say you decide to use the cutters on someone else’s lock. Now that you’ve opened it, you have access to anything you want. However, what you find is not yours, could be harmful to you, and taking it might get you into a lot of trouble. And if you use the cutters to break open your own lock you can take pride in knowing that you’ve opened the lock with more speed and ease, but by ignoring the process you’ve caused irreparable damage and left yourself open to dangers with no chance to correct it.
We must remember that locks are designed by God to protect and prevent us from being harmed. Some locks are permanent – keeping us away from the things toward which we should never venture. Other locks are temporary, prohibiting us from getting into things we aren’t ready to have. It is God who knows what we should and shouldn’t have, when we should have it, and how it will benefit us at the proper time. When that time comes, the Holy Spirit will give us the correct combination and teach us the proper procedure for opening the lock safely, securely and in a way that maximizes the blessing of whatever He has chosen to give us. Peter’s words serve as a powerful reminder that we must humble ourselves to follow in the footsteps of Christ – the One whose perfect model freed us to receive the greatest gifts that God has to offer.
It can be hard to follow the steps and not do it our own way. It can be harder when you know what to do but are being told to wait patiently for the right time. But thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives we can put our trust in Him so we can lock up the joy found only in the loving arms of God.
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs & Services