“So,” she said, as we sat on the sofa in her living room and as she grew bored with my selection of the program playing on the television, “I guess you'll be preaching tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow is Sunday, so I'll be preaching.”
“What are you preaching about?”
“I going to be preaching about the Apostle Paul. While he was in jail praying suddenly the doors of the jail flew open.”
“What are you going to say about that?”
“I'm going to be preaching about all the doors we open and close in our lives.”
“I don't think I understand that.”
“Okay, you come home from school or from shopping or from playing with your friends and you open the door to your house so you can come into a place where you are loved and where people take care of you. You go to school and you open the door to the school so you can enter a place where you can learn and prepare yourself to be an adult. Someday, you'll open a door to your office where you will earn money to be able to provide things for your family. And someday you'll open a door to the hospital where you'll give birth to your baby and my great-grandchild. But, here's the thing, you don't have to open those doors. You could close those doors. And if you close the doors you don't get what's on the other side. And sometimes we open doors and go into places where we shouldn't and we get into trouble. And sometimes we close doors that we should open and we don't get all the things God wants us to have.”
“I've got it,” she said. “It's important to open the right doors and to close the wrong doors.”
I looked down at her ten-year-old face amazed. If this child could get the point of the sermon so quickly surely the adults in my congregation would be thrilled. Oh my goodness, I hadn't anticipated what a really great sermon this was going to be.
“That's right,” I said. “That's exactly what I'm preaching. But I need a funny story to tell.”
“Let me think about it,” she said. She reached over and picked up the remote to the TV; pointed the remote at the screen to turn it off. Then she settled back into the cushions, folded her arms over her chest, closed her eyes and obviously went into deep thought. Suddenly she sat up.
“Here's the funny story: Once there was a man on the inside of a castle. And there was a man on the outside of the castle. They wanted to talk to each other. But they couldn't because the castle door was closed and locked. It was really important that they talk so the man inside the castle kept asking himself, 'What can I do so I can get out there and talk to my friend? Do you know what he did?”
“What did he do?”
“He ran around in circles as fast as he could until he got so tired he passed out. - Get it? He passed out.”
Okay, it wasn't a side-splitter, but in her honor I decided to use it. I began my sermon on doors with my granddaughters joke. I discovered my granddaughter's humor is much more developed than my congregation's.