“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 in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’
These are some very intense words of Jesus.
People can do great things in the name of Jesus while missing out on the vital participation in covenantal intimacy with Him.
It reminds us of the far too common story of the father who provides for his children, prioritizing “food on the table” and “clothes on their backs” at the expense of a real relationship with them. The harsh determined provision overshadows the intimacy of knowing his children and being known by them.
We can imagine later in life, the dad arguing his case with the exclamatory self-justification, “You always had what you needed!” But the son or daughter replying, “Dad, I don’t even know you! The one thing I needed was you–so I didn’t have what I needed because we never even took the time or made the effort to get to really know each other. All I wanted was you. And I never had you.”
In wisdom literature, such as Proverbs here, we get that unique “Wisdom From Below” that is observational more than “God said do or don’t do this.” This is what makes Proverbs such an interesting book of the canon.
We look at the rhythm of life and see what works and what doesn’t. What works for people–brings them happiness and flourishing? And what does not?
Then we can ask ourselves the same thing. Where will what I’m doing lead? Has anyone gone this path before? Where did it take them? Perhaps you have cut someone off from your life, you’ve quit talking to them over some incident, disagreement, dispute. You’re giving the silent treatment. Who has done that before that you’ve observed? How did that go for them? Did it bring what they truly desired?