In my job as a zookeeper, I have to carry a lot of keys.There are keys to doors, keys to padlocks, and keys to some odd-ball locks like the ones on jewelry store display cabinets. The only problem is that with all of these keys, there are still only a few different sizes and shapes. The only real way to tell which key goes to which lock is by looking at the numbers inscribed on the keys themselves. Looking at the tiny numbers and letters each time you need a key would take way too much time in the day, so most zookeepers put their keys on their key ring in a specific order so they can find the right key by touch – or at least by something more readily visible. The problem comes when the keys slide around on the rings and get themselves out of order. The other day, I was walking up to the penguin exhibit I take care of and I grabbed my keys without looking at them. I pushed the first key on the ring into the lock and found that it just wouldn’t turn. I probably unlock this lock 10-15 times a day, so the first key on the ring is always the one for this lock. For a second, I wondered if the lock was jammed or frozen, even though it was much too warm for ice. Then, I looked down at my key ring and realized that the key I needed had slipped around to the back of the row of keys and I was using the second key on the ring. Both keys are made for the same brand of padlock, so they both fit in the hole, but only one actually turns the lock. I wished that the key just wouldn’t fit in the lock at all if it wasn’t going to turn it.
Something about that made me think about religion. Man just has a natural need for something to be devoted to. If this wasn’t true, there wouldn’t be so many religions in every culture in the world. Even the people who claim not to subscribe to a religion have something that consumes them, something that they rely on to fill a gap in their lives: a striving for fame, a devotion to a sports team, a longing for the perfect life. Some of these things do seem to fill the gap and give our lives meaning. Other religions produce sincere, focused devotees. In the end, it doesn’t matter if the key fits in the hole. It only matters if it turns the lock. Jesus Himself said that He is the only key that will open heaven’s door. In John 14:6 He says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Some people may say that I’m just being excluding by believing that. Others will say I am discriminating or even showing open hatred for other religions. That’s not it at all. What I am saying is that when I chose to accept Christ as my Saviour, I chose to believe that every word of the Bible is true. I chose to believe that Jesus, and only Jesus, is the Key.