Not Everyone Who Calls Me Lord

Every week, if not daily, we hear about an eminent teacher, leader, or preacher of the Bible being outed for a (somewhat) secret life of sin, abuse, sex, pride. Not the ordinary failings of the rest of us, but a willful, continuing pattern. And when they are finally brought out into public view? They disappear. No repentance. No apologies.

This is not a 21st Century phenomenon. No, John the Baptizer and Jesus the Son of Man both appeared in 1st Century Palestine with a central word–repent. That’s an old-fashioned word, but it contains a contemporary meaning.

Recognize your failings. The damage you’ve done to many lives. The trust you’ve broken. And change your life.

Both John and Jesus made a consistent point of highlighting the publicly religious people of their time and calling out their hypocrisy. How they call out to their God, “Lord, Lord” but their actions belie their hearts.

No wonder Jesus said (recorded in Matthew 7):

Not 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.

When you go out to the coffee house, how do you treat the barista who serves you? Or the server at lunch or dinner? Or the plumber who comes to do the dirty work of keeping your house in order?

This week I called the cable TV company and cancelled TV service. Yes, my wife and I are now officially “cord cutters”. The man on the other end of the conversations was having some computer problems. He kept apologizing for the delay. I kept saying, “No problem, do your job and I’ll occupy my time reading and writing while I’m waiting.” He told me at one point, “Thank you so much for your patience. Not everyone is that way.” I told him that I understood and to have a nice day–in a job, by the way, that is most thankless.

I say that merely as an example. Maybe not always am I that kind. But I try. And so should you.

Because, as a Jesus-follower we try to live with the understanding that God cares not so much about what we say as how we act. I read a commentary preparing these thoughts where the preacher (I suppose) said that we should “leave a trail of good works.”

This is not a works versus faith argument. The proof lies in the status of your heart. What we do betrays the state of our heart. Is it of the light or of the darkness/

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