Art Garfunkel, famous folk musician, was pulled over on January 21, 2004, for speeding in upstate New York. (It was also discovered that Garfunkel had marijuana in his jacket.) As the trooper issued Garfunkel a ticket, he protested, stating to the trooper he was a celebrity. Unfortunately for Garfunkel, the trooper had never heard of him. Thus, he was not impressed by Garfunkel’s protestation.
How many individuals do you suppose will react as Garfunkel on Judgment Day? I think Jesus already answered this question when He said:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to9 Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)
Yes, our Lord declares that many will invoke the standing that they enjoyed among men as they stand before Him. Yet, it will be to no avail since Christ will not be impressed. After all, the things they have done are outside his Father’s will. Regardless of what wonderful things they accomplished, they, like Garfunkel, “broke the law,” and will face the consequences of their actions.
Perhaps you perform many wonderful deeds in Jesus’ name during the course of a week. Even so, are you doing the will of the Father? We are often distracted by our works and neglect the works God expects us to do. The Pharisees paid tithes on anise, mint, and cumin, but neglected the “weightier matters” of the Law (cf. Matthew 23:23). Though the Jews were required to give a tenth of the earth’s produce (cf. Deuteronomy 14:22), they were not required to pay tithes on herbs. Therefore, there is a debate about whether the Pharisees’ actions were even required by the Law of Moses. It seems they bound stricter conditions upon themselves to elevate their standing among men. This action did not impress Jesus, though, since they neglected the Father’s will.
May it be that when you must stand before the Judge of mankind (cf. Romans 14:12), you will do so confident that the deeds you performed were in accordance to God’s will. Otherwise, prepare to hear Him say, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”