We have new neighbors on our street. I’ve met two families, both with young children and dogs. The neighbors down the block from us moved into a home where the previous owners planted four fruit trees outside the fence next to the sidewalk. Seemed like an odd place to put fruit trees, but then I guess anyplace they’ll grow is a good place. They planted an apple, peach, pear and cherry.
As I walked past those trees recently, I noticed that the cherries were ripe. I wondered if the new couple would pick them, and then I spotted the entire family last Saturday with buckets in hand. The little girl and mom were having a great time picking cherries and filling their buckets while Dad and the dogs watched. I was glad that the fruit would not go to waste.
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew, Jesus reminds his listeners that “by their fruit you will recognize them [people who speak for God].” Then Jesus uttered a stark warning, “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.” [Matt 7:20-21]
Frankly, people who walk into a church and say “Lord, Lord” and walk out to live their lives as they please are a dime a dozen. They profess Christ as LORD with their mouths but rarely obey His word. It doesn’t cost anything to be a “professing” Christian.
However, it costs everything to be a “true” Christian who not only says, “Lord, Lord” but also “does the will of the Father in heaven.” We have done a great disservice to people by allowing them to think that Christianity can be acquired by mere words. In truth, it is a life totally given over to pleasing God. It costs everything.