A friend asked my opinion today. As my husband is wont to say “Opinions are like belly buttons, everybody’s got one.” I am no exception. I have one belly button, but myriad opinions.
So I listened readily to his question. I was eager to give away one of my fabulous opinions.
My friend presented some questions he wanted to add to a document, I was willing to concur, Sure, go ahead, do that. But even as I felt that I wondered, and then asked, “What did God say?”
Does that seem a strange question?
How far would we get in any day if we stopped and asked God his opinion about every thing we do?
How far do we need to go?
On the recommendation of our senior pastor, I have been reading and re reading the Sermon on the Mount, or the gospel of Matthew chapters 5 through 7. To say those chapters are packed is to say a bit of water flows over Niagara Falls every day.
But there is one paragraph in particular that always brings me up short:
Jesus is talking about wolves in sheep’s clothing and recognizing trees by the fruit they bear. Good trees bear good fruit. It’s an analogy, he means people. But then he goes on and says:
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.”
Who can enter the kingdom of heaven?
Only those who do the will of the Father in heaven.
When you contemplate what God’s will might be, would you not think that casting out demons, prophesying – teaching – proclaiming truth, and performing miracles are all IN God’s will?
But Jesus says “I will plainly tell them, I never knew you.”
I never knew you!
Well, wait, wait, then what’s God’s will? What is God’s will?
Sounds crazy, I know. Take the time to actually ask God, What do you think? should I do this? buy this? say this? pursue this? And then wait for an answer.
Back to my earlier question, How far would we get in any day if we asked God about every thing we were doing?
You may be thinking that this could be taken to ridiculous lengths, Jesus, do I turn left or right?
You will have missed the point.
The point is, Jesus is talking about some people who made pretty good guesses about what good works might be a part of God’s will. No one would argue against those works. But they missed the point.
They guessed at God’s will, and did what they thought it was. And those were some pretty good guesses. So they get to enter the kingdom of heaven, right?
Jesus says, no, I never knew you.
They missed knowing God.
They missed knowing God.
So it doesn’t matter if you guess correctly on what actions, words, he may or may not approve.
What matters is, do you know him?