1 December 2016
That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
to guard us he has set
wall and rampart about us.
Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in,
she, the faithful one
whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace,
because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord is the everlasting Rock;
he has brought low those who lived high up
in the steep citadel;
he brings it down, brings it down to the ground,
flings it down in the dust:
the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor
trample on it.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. ‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven
Have you ever noticed when things are going well and you are prospering, you may find yourself surrounded by multitudes of friends. But when the chips are down, you wonder where everyone is? Everyone wants to be in your camp when you’re popular, no one wants to be left out. The danger lies in who you can trust, and weeding out who is genuine and who is a hanger-on. People will use their closely-guarded connections and name-drop or claim association, like gaining access to the VIP lounge in the hottest night club of the moment. In our world of doing business, it is deemed important to ‘get a leg up’ on other people, therefore it is about who you know that can get you there.
Not with Jesus though; Jesus doesn’t care about who you know, or if you claim association with Him. He is only interested in the condition of your heart, and what lies within: “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jer 17:9-10). Jesus recognizes the “bad fruits” by their deeds and words. Their lips may have called upon his name, but their hearts may not be in sync with God. As such, in today’s readings we see that he disassociates himself from these people by calling them out, questioning their motives and actions.
In whatever that we do then under the standard of the church, be it in attending mass or volunteering in ministries, perhaps today’s reading is a call to us to re-examine our motives for doing so. Sometimes, the devil comes in to distract us so that we lose sight of the reasons why we joined a ministry, for example. When we lose our focus, it is easy to get caught up in the other things that we encounter in our work for God, from the simplest things like getting frustrated with the car park situation at the church, or annoyance at one of the members of the ministry for being ‘bossy’. We are human, and it is normal for us to feel negative feelings, but let us pray for patience and focus to prevent such things from distracting us from the reason at the end of the day — God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we seek forgiveness for the times when we have let our actions become “bigger” than you. Help us to re-focus and remember that ultimately, all that we do is for God and with God.
Thanksgiving – Lord, we give thanks for the opportunity to carry out works in God’s name. We pray that we will glorify His name in all that we do.