‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain.’ ~Exodus 20:7
Be a saint, but don’t think too much about what defines a saint.
This morning’s gospel is a tough one; Jesus is telling us that people who have worked miracles in his name aren’t necessarily even acquaintances. And before you start saying, “well, yeah, there’s this guy and that guy and that other one who…” remember the warning about judgment that precedes this statement in Matthew’s account. We’re talking about people who sincerely did these things for Christ, not just for cash, fame, or fire insurance.
So what makes the difference? Knowing God. An analog helps here; I can bring my wife flowers every day of the year, hold her and caress her every chance that I get, whisper sweet kindnesses to her whenever we have a moment alone, and by all outward appearances be a fantastic husband. I could even say of myself that that I was being a great husband. The problem with this scenario is that I’m doing the ‘right things,’ but at the expense of actually knowing my wife. All the while I’ve missed some important connections: My wife is deathly allergic to most flowers (chocolate is our acceptable replacement,) has children hanging on her all day (constant touching), and she’s more interested in adult conversation at any chance she can get it than in romantic baby talk.
Discernment is important in our lives, and though a general call for something holy might seem appealing, right, and good, it might not be a call to you. Remember that God is in the whisper, not the storm, quake, or fire. Just because something is awesomely holy, does not mean it is your calling. The only way you can get to know your calling, btw, is by getting to know God.