Pastor's Column - December 18, 2013

First Byline: 
Rev. Phillip Thomas - Second Baptist Church in Barnwell.

Make Room
This past Saturday was the anniversary of the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. USA Today reported that in a joint appearance during the week in Newtown, some of the victims' families urged people to find ways to give back to their own communities. JoAnn Bacon, whose 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was killed at Sandy Hook said, "In this way, we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world."
Acts of kindness are very noble and needed gestures; however, I believe, in order to see even a measure of good manifest itself in our society, we must make room for God. Ironically, we are a nation who-although pledges to be "one nation under God"- has made no room for the God it pledges its allegiance to.
Where is God in our schools? We are discouraging the students that want to pray outside around the flag pole, while those with guns are walking inside with deadly intent. Where is God in our courts? We can put our hand on the Bible and swear to God to tell the truth, yet the commandments that say we are not to bear false witness aren't allowed to hang on those "hallowed" walls. Where is God in our churches? The truth of God's word is not even wanted there. Today, we just want to be lifted up-to feel good-to be entertained. Is it any wonder that our ungodly lifestyles are a direct reflection of not having made room for God in our daily lives?
In the book of Luke, chapter 2, we find the very first incident where someone failed to make room for Jesus. In verse 2 it says that Mary brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was not room in the inn. Scripturally, we don't know who the inn keeper was or if he existed at all. Regardless, he missed a massive marketing opportunity.
Can you imagine turning down the chance for the Son of God to be born at your establishment? He could have had a slogan that read, "If the Savior of the world stayed here, shouldn't you?" However, he didn't make room; he blew it. He missed his chance, and Jesus was born in a manger.
Why didn't the inn keeper make room for Jesus? First of all, he was too busy. Caesar Augustus had made a decree that everyone had to return to their ancestral towns to pay taxes; therefore, there were many people looking for somewhere to lodge. So, in the midst of this hectic time of trying to make accommodations for guests, he missed out on what was important.
Sadly, we, too, at times get so involved in the urgent that we ignore the important. Don't get so caught up in the petty pace of life that we miss out on the most important things. It is also possible that the inn keeper didn't make room because he felt like there would be room tomorrow. What he didn't know was Jesus would be born that night. Jesus would later say, "We have to work while it is day because night cometh when no man can work." Don't put off making room for Jesus until tomorrow because tomorrow isn't promised.
If the inn keeper would have known Mary was carrying the Savior, surely he would have made room. We don't have the same excuse; we know who He is and still have not made room. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." I, in turn, advise you to open the door of your heart and make room for Him to enter.
Rev. Phillip Thomas is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Barnwell.