Jesus said, ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’
Saying the right thing is not enough. Saying may even be a substitute for doing. Dickens once said, “I hear so much about consciences that I no longer believe in them.” I remember a scene from some novel, where a young man involved himself in very dubious practices, to the consternation of his older brother, who said, “But you took a first class degree in moral philosophy!”
“Not everyone who says to me: Lord! Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven.” But how is this to be reconciled with the words of St Paul, “No one can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3)? There’s obviously a difference between ‘just saying’ and ‘really saying’. What does really saying add to just saying? It adds you! - your real mind, your will, yourself. It’s very hard, as we know, to put ourselves fully behind everything we say. For a start, we say so much! There is often less in our account than the sum total of the words we utter. They use that word in banking too: ‘to utter a cheque’. The consequences of uttering a false cheque are soon felt, but there are so many false words in circulation that it is often hard to tell true from false.
Let’s change the metaphor. Our words (particularly abstract words) can become like boxes with false bottoms: no one knows what’s in there, or indeed whether there’s anything at all.
But the best metaphor is rock and sand. A rock is a single consistent thing, but sand is a billion tiny rocks that have no connection with one another. They are like words that pour away, this way and that, according to the way the wind is blowing.
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