Friday, September 23
Matthew 7:13-23 MSG
“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
“Knowing the correct password—saying “Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ’You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’”
The final goal of each of the systems might be stated as follows:
Hebrews: Ye therefore shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever, even as Jehovah your God will reward you.
Hinduism: Ye therefore shall be merged into the Impersonal, even into Brahma, the Impersonal.
Buddhism: Ye therefore shall dwell on the borderland of being and not-being, even as Nirvana is being and not being.
Islam: Ye therefore shall have a paradise of pleasure, even as Allah, the Almighty wills.
The Greeks: Ye therefore shall dwell with the gods and be happy, even as the gods are brightly and sensuously happy.
Humanism: Ye therefore shall cease to be, even as all things shall end in dissolution.
Christ: Ye therefore shall be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect.
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount.