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. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” –Matthew 7:21-23
Hank worked for months on Mr. Smith’s candidacy by passing out flyers, buttons, stickers and yard signs. He called potential voters asking for their support and poured much of his own money into the election. After months of Hank’s tireless work, Election Day arrived and Mr. Smith won. A celebration party was held and to Hank’s delight, Mr. Smith was mingling with his supporters. Hank walked up to congratulate Mr. Smith, shook his hand, spoke of what a remarkable campaign it had been and what a privilege it had been to serve. But, Mr. Smith returned Hank’s enthusiasm with a blank stare and the words, “Do I know you?” It’s a great question that relates to today’s Scripture passage.
Of all the teachings of Jesus, I find that I have wrestled with this one quite often. In fact, before I took the time to examine this passage, it seemed something like a cruel joke, as if Jesus opted for the “bait and switch” approach to ministry. But, with more study, I discovered the secret is found in the word “know. The original Greek word in today’s Scripture passage is the word ginosko, which frequently indicates relationship between the person “knowing” and the object that is “known.”* In other words, when applied to the story above, Mr. Smith never knew Hank, and didn’t know what Hank was doing for him because there was no relationship, no friendship between Mr. Smith and Hank.
Applying this understanding, the biblical warning is clear. Jesus wants to know us, to have a relationship with us. He is not interested in all that we are doing for Him unless we first know Him and are known by Him. Make this your goal today.
Have you “missed the boat,” getting caught up in the “doing” for God, while neglecting the “knowing”? Take time today to restore the relationship Christ desires with you.
Micah 6:8; Hebrews 3:14; 1 John 2:19
*Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, & William White, Jr. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985