When I was a child, living in Government Housing, there were but two ways to access our front door. One was by the front street and one was off a dirt side alley. Down the first way, you had to come down a long walkway; since our apartment sat at the back of the complex. Now the alley entrance was a closer entrance, but it was dirt and…you couldn’t see anything from our front door. Bummer! Although…that’s where my folks always parked, special visitors made their entrances down the long walkway with suitcases in hand. My dad and I would of course try to meet them before they made the long walk, helping them with their bags, but that was only if we could see them coming. In the meantime, there would be a surprised visit with a knocking at the front door if we hadn’t noticed.
Now my grandparents lived in San Bernardino, California and we lived in San Diego (Linda Vista). My grandmother didn’t drive and granddad hated to drive any further than their local grocery store (3-miles away). So for them to come and visit us in the summer and the Holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, it was nearly impossible. So out of necessity and love… mom, dad, my younger brother and I would all go to their house. It was easier than ‘begging’ them to head our way and we were of course always welcome at their house.
I remember grandma would always have a heads-up before we came to visit. But when we all arrived, the first thing she would ask my parents was, “Could you take me to the store to pick up a few items?” That would be an entire shopping cart of food. Grandma was never prepared for our coming, even though she knew our arrival time. Remember, granddad hated to drive that old 1941 Chrysler. Normally, a bag of groceries would last them for two weeks or so. I think grandma was clueless on how to feed a family of four, especially to growing boys to boot! She did have plenty of cookies in the Cookie Jar though!
When they did come to visit us in San Diego, it was a big event, no matter what time of the year it was. I would ask mom a child’s ‘stand-by’ question, “When will they get here!”; every ten minutes or so. Finally after hearing me whine for hours about when they might arrive, mom would simply tell me, get a chair and go to the front door and WATCH FOR THEIR COMING! Mom gave me ‘a job’ to do; that’s what she called it. It was more to keep me busy… looking out the front door’s side window, than showing her impatience and telling me words my dad would often said, “They’ll get here when they get here!” So I was always PREPARED for their COMING.
And The Doorkeeper, the Usher, the Janitor, the Porter’s Job is…?
“One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of WORSHIP, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God, than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin” (Psalm 84:10 The Message).
The AMPLIFIED version of the same verse says, “I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand…”
As a child, all I did was stand and wait; watching for my grandparents arrival. They lived a long way from me and it had been a long time in between visits But a “DOORKEEPER” in the Bible had many responsibilities, and duties.
1. To be FAITHFUL at their post.
2. To defend the house from danger.
3. To be READY for the Master of the house return.
But there is much more…
“HOUSE” in Scripture often meant more than a physical structure. It also meant, FAMILY!; or even metaphorically the CHURCH. With that thought of HOUSE in mind, lets look at being a DOORKEEPER in biblical times.
BEING A DOORKEEPER IN BIBLICAL TIMES:
The DUTY of a doorkeeper was a very important and privileged job. It was trusted to the most capable, loyal and trained priest. Now if you are thinking at this point, “I’m not a PRIEST so this leaves me out of the equation.” Scripture addresses the priest question by this concept (1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6). As Christians, we are “a royal race”; a “royal priesthood.”
As priests, their job entailed that no one who was unclean, undeserving, would enter the Temple of the Lord. In this way, God’s house wouldn’t be defiled. The Bible also tell us, our body is now the Temple of the Lord at our Salvation.
They also made sure those who were able to enter worship, did so rightly; properly purified to enter the gates of the Lord’s presence and properly paid their tithe and reverence first. Aren’t you glad that we don’t have those same kind of doorkeepers in today’s churches? There wouldn’t be worship at all occurring! Then again, maybe…?
If the DOORKEEPERS did not do their duty, the Temple would be defiled. they had to have incredible character; not to be bribed or to be lazy in their responsibility. No SLEEPING on the job.
The Incredible Honor Upheld For The Priest.
The position to be in God’s approximation, His presence; not intimacy but just being close to only a small fraction of the people could have on them.
As a Christian Doorkeeper today, we all have now so much deeper and truer closeness through the POWER of the Holy Spirit living inside the Temple; our bodies. See the contrast (Lev. 4:1-3; 5:4-16; 16:2; Numbers 18:1-7; Psalm 84).
RELEVANCE of the Door In the New Testament – Revelation 3:20:
“I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door”
We see God using this image in Scripture as a symbol, do we trust Him? It is a reference to His beckoning for us to come to Him. It is also a prelude to the imminence of His Second Coming.
Jesus’ request is that the self-deluded, compliant members of a church today, be a part of their activities and lives; being called out by Him (Matt. 24:33; Mark 13:29; James 5:8-9; Rev. 3:11; 22:7).
Opening the Door Meaning–
Jesus is telling His DOORKEEPERS, the church, to be steadfast and persevering in our FAITH in waiting for Christ and His return. It’s also an image that our FAITH; He opens His door and our obedience keeps it open! But at the same time, our PRIDE closes it.
THE PARABLE OF THE DOORKEEPER ON WATCH:
 “It is like a man [already] going on a journey; when he leaves home, he puts his servants in charge, each with his particular task, and gives orders to the DOORKEEPER to be constantly alert and on watch.  Therefore watch (give strict attention, be cautious and alert), for you do not know when the Master of the house is coming–in the evening, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning–  [Watch, I say] lest He come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep.  And what I say to you I say to everybody; Watch (give strict attention, be cautious, active, and alert)!” (Mark 13:34-37 AMP).
Paying close attention to what’s being illustrated here by Jesus, the action of the Master is to assign responsibilities to his servants.
The Master was going on a long trip–distance and time. He gave AUTHORITY to his servants; responsibility, power and action in his absence. This is a master who trusts his servants and each servant had his assigned work.
Come on church, as Christs’ servants, we’ve been given specific responsibilities of POWER and ACTION in Jesus’ absence.
Now to the Porter, The Doorkeeper, The Usher, the Janitor; he gave a specific responsibility. He was to WATCH and not to fall asleep. The Greek word for “asleep” is hupnos; defined as “a spiritual conformity by believers; insensitivity to divine things.” As a DOORKEEPER, the idea given is that of vigilance, awareness, and protection.
ASSUMING TWO BASIC REASONS FOR HAVING “WATCHMEN“ IN THE HOUSE:
#1. To watch out for enemies, thieves and other people who might bring harm into the Master’s house; His family.
#2 So that the Master would have ready entrance to his house to all that belonged to him when he returned.
The Servant’s Responsibility Was A Great One.
The 5 W’s to Consider of RESPONSIBILITY:
–WHO was he to watch for…specifically for his Master.
–WHEN was he to watch..constantly.
–WHAT was his responsibility..keep a vigilant watch.
–WHY was he to watch so carefully…because he didn’t know when his Master would return.
–WHAT was so important about this servants job as “Doorkeeper”…all the other activity of the Master’s house, making it ready for the master’s return.
THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM A “DOORKEEPER”:
Webster’s Dictionary identifies a doorkeeper as “someone on duty at a door or gate, especially somebody who guards an entrance.”
We’ve learned from Scripture (Rev.3:20), Jesus’ image of knocking on the door, the HEART-DOOR, when the HEART is opened, He will come in to him and a relationship begins. By-the-way, this relationship is never one-sided. One-sided relationships are never successful!
So with this IMAGE in mind: HEART=DOOR, thus as a “doorkeeper”, who is watching the entrance with his/her eyes-EYES=WINDOW, our responsibilities become much clearer now as a believer.
In my EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF BIBLE WORDS, I began to dig a little further, into the “HEART” of the matter, so to speak.
The Greek word kardia occurs around 160 times as a true dynamic equivalent for the Hebrew terms leb and lebab. kardia refers primarily to the heart as the center of the human will, mind, emotion, and soul or spirit. So as protectors, gatekeepers, doorkeepers, our responsibility is to KEEP WATCH, stay AWAKE, of what can come through the DOORS of our soul and spirit.
BEING ALERT AND ON GUARD:
That’s what my mom basically told me as a child, while patiently waiting for my grandparents visit. “Be alert Mel, keep watching, be on guard…” The apostle Paul gives us the same lesson to learn in 1 Corinthians 16:
“Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength.” (v. AMP).
We already know what “to watch” means–but our survival as BELIEVERS in Christ Jesus could depend on that understanding and action Paul describes to us. Paul wasn’t telling us to be passive spectators (inattentive “doorkeepers”).
How Important Is It That We “Watch” On the Job?
Consider the biblical command “to watch”, coupled with the command to PRAY given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives:
“All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and WATCH and PRAY, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 AMP).
It is the spiritual watching for the diversions that surround us; the movies we attend, television programs we watch, etc.. coupled with PRAYER gives us strength to resist the TEMPTATIONS as “DOORKEEPERS”, to survive in difficult situations.
WATCHING means properly using our minds.
God gave us marvelous minds to use–to study, learn, observe, analyze, judge and think. LIFE is TIME and to waste time is to waste life.
Three times Jesus left His disciples to pray and told them to keep watch. And three times they were found sleeping. Jesus then leaves these words with His ‘sleepy’ followers, His Doorkeepers, as they were rubbing their eyes and wondering at the same time, “Now how did that just happen?”:
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand…”
And again, Jesus tells His disciples in the parable of Mark 13:
“[Watch, I say] lest He come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to everybody: WATCH (give strict attention, be cautious, active, and alert)!” (verses 36-37).
WAKE-UP and Don’t Be Caught Naked!
If this is where you are in your spiritual life right now, let’s pray this prayer together:
Father, I have been ‘slacking’ in my responsibilities as your DOORKEEPER as of late. I’ve been sleeping; not staying awake in prayer, watching for temptations. I know that Satan and his band of thieves will fill the voids in my life if I’m not careful to watch. I repent of my laziness, my indifference to the worlds way of seeing and doing and ask that You will forgive my sin. In Your Son’s Name Jesus, AMEN.
Congratulations! If you just prayed that prayer with me, you are now a DOORKEEPER! Ready for ACTION! All with the help and power of the Holy Spirit.