In Jesus’ first sermon, there are three verses that, for me, are the scariest things Jesus ever said. Apparently, it is possible to work for Him my whole life, have an incredibly effective and powerful ministry, change people’s lives, be used by the power of the Holy Spirit, and still not spend eternity with Him.
"Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord! Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, “Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.” - But I will reply, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” - Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
I would have thought that if I could speak for God, cast out demons, and perform miracles I would be pretty safe. I would assume that I would be pretty tight with God to have this kind of impact. God and I would have to be really close if I could walk around and perform miracles. Apparently not!
It is possible, and I would say even common, to work for Him but not know Him. It is one of my greatest struggles. We professionally religious can go a long time talking about Him without talking with Him. We can spend weeks speaking for Him without speaking to Him. We can fill up our time trying to live up to the expectations of many, all the while ignoring the One. The irony is that it’s out of intimacy with God that we have any ability to reflect His likeness to the world so desperate for it.
A planning meeting is often easier than a prayer meeting. Reading a book about what another “super pastor” has done is often more tempting than soaking in the Word of God. Attending a conference is often easier to justify than getting away for a few days–just Him and me. I can’t even comprehend the hell of that moment when, after living a life of powerful service, He could look at me and say, “Sorry... what was your name again?”
An excerpt from the book Professionally Religious.