Is There Room in my Inn?

Is There Room in my Inn?

As Luke tells the story, Mary and Joseph were required to travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to comply with the decree of Emperor Caesar Augustus to be counted in a census.  This was quite a journey for Joseph and his very pregnant betrothed – a walking distance of around 90 miles in ancient times.  As you can imagine, this must have been an especially hard trip for Mary.  Fortunately, she made it to Bethlehem before going into labor.

But when they arrived in Bethlehem, there was a problem.  They had to find someplace to stay – someplace appropriate for a woman to give birth.  After searching for the right place, Luke tells us that “there was no place for them in the inn” and Jesus was placed in a manger (or feeding trough) after he was born.  By this we can assume that the best place they could find was a barn, stable, or some other area (possibly outdoors) where animals were kept.  Not really a place for any baby to be born, much less the Messiah of all the world.

Imagine Joseph and his very pregnant betrothed in Bethlehem, already crowded to capacity with all of the people who came for the Roman census, looking for a place to stay.  The people who arrived first undoubtedly had already taken the good spots – the inns and local homes.  It was standing room only in Bethlehem.  They may have felt lucky to get the spot in the barn considering that she went into labor soon after their arrival.  Imagine the panic of having to find some suitable place for Mary to give birth.  Imagine Joseph knocking on the doors with poor Mary pleading for a place to stay.  He must have been told over and over again, “We have no room for you.”  Finally, and just in time, someone had some semblance of mercy and offered them his barn and there the King of Kings was born.

“Behold, I [Jesus] stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and eat with him, and he with me.” 

Rev. 3:20

This is how the earthly life of Jesus began and this is how he continues today.  He knocks and he is told by many, “I have no room for you.”  Sadly, these people will never enter eternity with Jesus.

But what about those of us who have answered the door?  We have accepted Jesus’ offer of grace and salvation.  We made room for Jesus.  Right?

That being the case, I still have to ask myself:  How much room have I made for Jesus?  Is he still relegated to the barn or have I offered him the master’s place at the table?  Most of the time, I am somewhere in between.  In the inn of my heart, Jesus often walks between the two.  Although it is my ultimate desire to willingly advocate the head of the table to Jesus permanently, my worldly desires often get in the way.  Sometimes I fear that God won’t work things out like I want and I move Jesus to the kids table or out of the house completely.  Back in the barn you go.  

My brain part knows that Jesus has only my absolute good in mind, even if the journey is painful.  My brain part also knows that Jesus will never leave me or forsake me.  You see, my brain part reads the Bible and knows his promises.  It’s my heart that’s deceitful.  I often can’t trust my feelings because they are wishy-washy and dependent upon whatever is going on in the moment.  Even knowing my feelings often can’t be trusted, I will still let them win over the brain part that knows better.  Or maybe, just maybe, sometimes I revert to my Terrible 2’s self and I act like a toddler and throw myself a little tantrum.  Trust me.  Even though you can’t see my little tantrum, it’s going on inside.  I know it and God knows it.  

Even if I am a toddler in some aspects of my life, I can still make room in my inn.  Have I made room in my life for prayer?  Reading the Bible?  Attending a worship service?  Spending time learning with other Christians?  Listening to Christian podcasts?  

Have I made room in my inn for other people?  Have I encouraged someone?  Have I helped someone?  Have I used my gifts for the benefit of others?  Have I met someone else’s needs?  Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:45:  “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”  Making room for others (particularly those who cannot benefit me personally) is the epitome of making room in my inn for Jesus.

The question I am asking myself today is:  Is there room in my inn for Jesus?

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