He flags him down and says, ‘Please, can you give me some water?’ The man shakes his head but then with a dazzling smile produces an array of bright coloured ties. ‘Alas no, but I can sell you a tie – finest quality, good price!’
Confused and angry, the first man struggles on until he meets another local, then another and each time the same thing happens. He pleads for water only to be offered a tie!
Eventually he is relieved to see emerge from the shimmering sands a posh looking hotel with a tall dude guarding the door. ‘Oh please,’ he begs, ‘let me come in, I desperately need some water!’
‘I’m sorry Sir,’ replies the doorman, ‘but you can’t come in here unless you’re wearing a tie’!
It’s just a joke and an old one at that, but it does have a lesson. Some things we consider of little worth or irrelevant are actually a crucial necessity.
Not many people seriously want to go to Hell. Most would prefer a welcome in Heaven, however they imagine that to be. But here’s the thing, not everyone is allowed in, only those who are ‘righteous’, that is, pleasing to God. So how do we get righteous?
Read the first few chapters of Romans in the New Testament. Here Christ’s Apostle Paul explains that every human, whatever their religion or philosophy, is inherently disobedient and falls short of God’s standards. It’s not something we can fix ourselves. However such is the grace and love of God He refuses to abandon us but gives His Son Jesus as a ‘sacrifice of atonement’ that we human failures can be forgiven and clothed in His perfect righteousness.
The Lord Himself provides what we need in order to be considered acceptable and gain admittance. Paradise is open, life is here to be enjoyed with gratitude and renewed obedience to our Maker and now, Saviour.
So all those things we thought unimportant like church and the Bible, Jesus and faith are significant after all. Jesus is our ‘tie in the desert’, the welcome, precious and essential One, the One we dare not be without!