Are you feeling the rapid passing of time? I sure am. It’s July already? It’s been almost a year and a half since we first heard of Covid? It’s been 21 years since the turn of the century? When you’re my age, there’s more behind than there is ahead, and I’m feeling it.
The longer we live, the closer we are to a certain end. When children and young people pass, their death comes as a surprise, and we grieve the life that could have been but now is not. When older people die, it is no surprise to anyone. We celebrate a long-lived life, and say nice things about the deceased whether they are true or not.
I want to arrive at heaven’s door greeted by the words, “well done, my good and faithful servant.” I certainly don’t want to hear the words promised to MANY (funny how until recently I somehow missed that word in Matthew 7:22): 21Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22MANY will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?” 23Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!“
This passage hits me hard. Right in the gut. I know full well how much of my life I’ve wasted on things that just don’t matter. I know how much I’ve invested in things with no eternal value. God knows I do not want to be turned away after thinking I had a reservation at the marriage feast of the Lamb and a mansion with my name on the mailbox. Somehow, saying “I prayed the prayer” doesn’t seem to give me enough assurance. I know that it is by grace we are saved, but we will be known as Christ-followers (or not) by our fruit (Matthew 7:20). We are saved by grace through faith, but the way we live our life after we come to know Christ will be the determining factor in how devoted we were to Him. Did we take our commitment to follow Him seriously? Or did we say the prayer and go on our way?
Carefully ponder this passage from Matthew 25:
31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.“
37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
40The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
41 Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
44 “They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?“
45 He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.“
46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
May I not be guilty of thinking I’m “in”, just because I repeated a prayer.
Might I take a hard look at my life and evaluate whether my life lines up with what I way I believe.
Would that I not miss one opportunity to care for the lost, the needy, and the broken.
May every day be lived in full to the honor and glory of God. May we surely know and may we know for sure that we will be welcomed to the kingdom. I pray this for myself, as well as for you. Please join me.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. –Psalm 73:25 (NIV)
(Illustration courtesy of crosswalk.com)